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THE LAST MAN. 



BY 



THE AUTHOR OF FRANKENSTEIN. 



IN THREE VOLUMES. 



Let no man seek 
Henceforth to be foretold what shall befall 
Him or his children. 

MitTOK. 



VOL. I. 

LONDON: 

HENRY COLBURN, NEW BURLINGTON STREET. 

1826. 



SkackelU Arrowmitk, and Hodges, Johnson's-coiirt, ri«et street, 



V, I 
Cop. Z 



i 



INTRODUCTION. 



I VISITED Naples in the year 1818. On the 
Stli of December of that year, my companion 
and I crossed the Bay, to visit the antiquities 
which are scattered on the shores of Baiae. The 
V translucent and shining waters of the calm sea 
r covered fragments of old Roman villas, which 
^'ere interlaced by sea- weed, and received dia- 
mond tints from the chequering of the sun-beams; 
the blue and pellucid element was such as Gala- 
tea might have skimmed in her car of mother 
of pearl ; or Cleopatra, more fitly than the Nile, 
have chosen as the path of her magic ship. 
Though it was winter, the atmosphere seemed 



IV INTRODUCTION. 

more appropriate to early spring; and its genial 
warmth contributed to inspire those sensations 
of placid delight, which are the portion of every 
traveller, as he lingers, loath to quit the tran- 
quil bays and radiant promontories of Baiae. 

We visited the so called Elysian Fields and 
Averaus ; and wandered through various ruined 
temples, baths, and classic spots ; at length we 
entered the gloomy cavern of the Cumaean Sibyl. 
Our Lazzeroni bore flaring torches, which shone 
red, and almost dusky, in the murky subterra- 
nean passages, whose darkness thirstily surround- 
ing them, seemed eager to imbibe more and more 
of the element of light. We passed by a natural 
archw^ay, leading to a second gallery, and 
enquired, if we could not enter there also. The 
guides pointed to the reflection of their torches 
on the water that paved it, leaving us to form 
our own conclusion ; but adding it was a pity, 
for it led to the Sibyl's Cave. Our curiosity and 
enthusiasm were excited by this circumstance, 
and we insisted upon attempting the passage. 
As is usually the case in the prosecution of such 
enterprizes, the difficulties decreased on examina- 
tion. We found, on each side of the humid 
pathway, " dry land for the sole of the foot." 



INTRODUCTION. V 

At length we arrived at a large, desert, dark 
cavern, which the Lazzeroni assured us was the 
SibyFs Cave. We were sufficiently disappointed 
— Yet we examined it with care, as if its blank, 
rocky Malls could still bear trace of celestial visi- 
tant. On one side was a small opening. Whi- 
ther does this lead ? we asked : can we enter 
here ? — *' Questo poi, no,"" — said the wild look- 
ing savage, who held the torch ; " you can 
advance but a short distance, and nobody visits 
it." 

" Nevertheless, I will try it," said my com- 
panion ; " it may lead to the real cavern. Shall 
I go alone, or will you accompany me ?"" 

I signified my readiness to proceed, but our 
guides protested against such a measure. With 
great volubility, in their native Neapolitan dia- 
lect, with which we were not very familiar, they 
told us that there were spectres, that the roof 
would fall in, that it was too narrow to admit us, 
that there was a deep hole within, filled with 
water, and we might be drowned. My friend 
shortened the harangue, by taking the man's 
torch from him ; and we proceeded alone. 

The passage, which at first scarcely admitted 
us, quickly grew narrower and lower ; we were al- 
a 3 



Tl INTRODUCTION. 

most bent double; yet still we persisted in making 
our Avay through it. At length we entered a 
wider space, and the low roof heightened ; but, 
as we congratulated ourselves on this change, 
our torch was extinguished by a current of air, 
and we w^ere left in utter darkness. The guides 
bring with them materials for renewing the light, 
but we had none — our only resource was to re- 
turn as we came. We groped round the widened 
space to find the entrance, and after a time fan- 
cied that we had succeeded. This proved 
however to be a second passage, which evidently 
ascended. It terminated like the former; though 
something approaching to a ray, we could not 
tell whence, shed a very doubtful twilight in the 
space. By degrees, our eyes grew somewhat 
accustomed to this dimness, and we perceived that 
there was no direct passage leading us further ; 
but that it was possible to climb one side of the 
cavern to a low arch at top, which promised a 
more easy path, from whence we now discovered 
that this light proceeded. With considerable 
difficulty we scrambled up, and came to another 
passage with still more of illumination, and this 
led to another ascent like the former. 

After a succession of these, which our resolu- 



INTRODUCnON. VU 

tion alone permitted us to surmount, we arrived 
at a wide cavern with an arched dome-hke roof. 
An aperture in the midst let in the hght of 
heaven ; but this was overgrown with brambles 
and underwood, which acted as a veil, obscuring 
the dav, and griving; a solemn relimous hue to 
the apartment. It was spacious, and nearly 
circular, with a raised seat of stone, about the 
size of a Grecian couch, at one end. The only 
sign that life had been here, was the perfect 
snow-white skeleton of a goat, which had proba- 
bly not perceived tlie opening as it grazed on 
the hill above, and had fallen headlong. Ages 
perhaps had elapsed since this catastrophe ; and 
tlie ruin it had made above, had been repaired 
by the growth of vegetation during many hun- 
dred summers. 

The rest of the furniture of the cavern con- 
sisted of piles of leaves, fragments of bark, and 
a white filmy substance, resembUng the inner part 
of the green hood which shelters the grain of the 
unripe Indian corn. "We were fatigued by our 
struggles to attain this point, and seated our- 
selves on the rocky couch, while the sounds of 
tinkling sheep-bells, and shout of shepherd-boy, 
reached us from above. 



Vlll TXTRODUCTION. 

At length my friend, who liad taken up some 
of the leaves strewed about, exclaimed, " This 
is the Sibyl's cave ; these are Sibylline leaves.** 
On examination, we found that all the leaves, 
bark, and other substances, were traced with 
written characters. What appeared to us more 
astonishing, was that these writmgs were ex- 
pressed in various languages: some unknown 
to my companion, ancient Chaldee, and Egyp- 
tian hieroglyphics, old as the Pyramids. 
Stranger still, some were in modern dialects, 
Encrlish and Italian. We could make out little 

o 

by the dim light, but they seemed to contain 
prophecies, detailed relations of events but lately 
passed ; names, now well known, but of modern 
date ; and often exclamations of exultation or 
woe, of victory or defeat, were traced on their 
thin scant pages. This was certainly the Sibyl's 
Cave; not indeed exactly as Virgil describes it; 
but the whole of this land had been so convulsed 
by earthquake and volcano, that the change was 
not wonderful, though the traces of ruin were 
effaced by time ; and we probably owed the 
preservation of these leaves, to the accident which 
had closed the mouth of the cavern, and the 
swift-growin^j vegetation which had rendered its 



INTRODUCTION. IX 

sole opening impervious to the storm. We made 
a hasty selection of such of the leaves, whose 
wTiting one at least of us could understand ; and 
then, laden with our treasure, we bade adieu to 
the dim hypaethric cavern, and after much diffi- 
culty succeeded in rejoining our guides. 

During our stay at Naples, we often returned 
to this cave, sometimes alone, skimming the sun- 
lit sea, and each time added to our store. Since 
that period, whenever the world's circumstance 
has not imperiously called me away, or the 
temper of my mind impeded such study. I have 
been employed in deciphering these sacred re- 
mains. Their meaning, wondrous and elo- 
quent, has often repaid my toil, soothing me in 
sorrow, and exciting my imagination to daring 
flights, through the immensity of nature and the 
mind of man. For awhile my labours were not 
solitary ; but that time is gone ; and, with the 
selected and matchless companion of my toils, 
their dearest reward is also lost to me — 

Di mie tenere frondi altro lavoro 
Credea mostrarte ; e qual fero pianeta 
A'e' nvidio insieme, o raio nobil tesoro ? 

I present the public with my latest discoveries 



X INTRODUCTION. 

in the slight Sibylline pages. Scattered and 
unconnected as they were^ I have been obliged 
to add Hnks, and model the work into a con- 
sistent form. But the main substance rests on 
the truths contained in these poetic rhapsodies, 
and the divine intuition which the Cumaean 
damsel obtained from heaven. 

I have often wondered at the subject of her 
verses, and at the English dress of the Latin 
poet. Sometimes I have thought, that, obscure 
and chaotic as they are, they owe their pre- 
sent form to me, their decipherer. As if we 
should give to another artist, the painted 
fragments which form the mosaic copy of Ra- 
phael's Transfiguration in St. Peter's ; he would 
put them together in a form, whose mode would 
be fashioned by his own peculiar mind and 
talent. Doubtless the leaves of the Cumsean 
Sibyl have suffered distortion and diminution of 
interest and excellence in my hands. My only 
excuse for thus transforming them, is that they 
were unintelligible in their pristine condition. 

My labours have cheered long hours of soli- 
tude, and taken me out of a world, which has 
averted its once benisjnant face from me, to one 
glowing with imagination and power. Will 



INTRODUCTION. XI 

my readers ask how I could find solace from the 
narration of misery and woeful change ? This 
is one of the mysteries of our nature, which 
holds full sway over me, and from whose influ- 
ence I cannot escape. I confess, that I have not 
been unmoved by the development of the tale ; 
and that I have been depressed, nay, agonized, 
at some parts of the recital, which I have faith- 
fully transcribed from my materials. Yet such 
is human nature, that the excitement of mind 
was dear to me, and that the imagination, painter 
of tempest and earthquake, or, worse, the stormy 
and ruin-fraught passions of man, softened my 
real sorrows and endless regrets, by clothing these 
fictitious ones in that ideality, which takes the 
mortal sting from pain. 

I hardly know whether this apology is neces- 
sary. For the merits of my adaptation and 
translation must decide how far I have well be- 
stowed my time and imperfect powers, in giving 
form and substance to the frail and attenuated 
Leaves of the Sibyl. 



THE LAST MAN. 



CHAPTER I. 



I AM the native of a sea^surrounded nook, a 
cloud-enshadowed land, which, when the surface 
of the globe, with its shoreless ocean and trackless 
continents, presents itself to my mind, appears 
only as an inconsiderable speck in the immense 
whole ; and yet, when balanced in the scale of 
mental power, far outweighed countries of larger 
extent and more numerous population. So true 
it is, that man's mind alone was the creator of 
all that was good or great to man, and that 

VOL. I. B 



2 THE LAST MAN. 

Nature herself was only his first minister. Eng- 
land, seated far north in the turbid sea, now 
visits my dreams in the semblance of a vast and 
well-manned ship, which mastered the winds and 
rode proudly over the waves. In my boyish 
days she was the universe to me. When I 
stood on my native hills, and saw plain and 
mountain stretch out to the utmost limits of my 
vision, speckled by the dwellings of my country- 
men, and subdued to fertility by their labours, the 
earth''s very centre was fixed for me in that spot, 
and the rest of her orb was as a fable, to have 
forgotten which would have cost neither my 
imagination nor understanding an effort. 

My fortunes have been, from the beginning, 
an exemplification of the power that mutability 
may possess over the varied tenor of man's life. 
With regard to myself, this came almost by 
inheritance. My father was one of those men 
on whom nature had bestowed to prodigality 
the envied gifts of wit and imagination, and 
then left his bark of life to be impelled by these 



THE LAST MAN. 3 

winds, without adding reason as the rudder, or 
judgment as the pilot for the voyage. His ex- 
traction was obscure ; but circumstances brought 
him early into pubhc notice, and his small 
paternal property was soon dissipated in the 
splendid scene of fashion and luxury in which 
he was an actor. During the short years 
of thoughtless youth, he was adored by the 
high-bred triflers of the day, nor least by the 
youthful sovereign, who escaped from the in- 
trigues of party, and the arduous duties of kingly 
business, to find never-faihng amusement and 
exliilaration of spirit in his society. ]\Iy father's 
impulses, never under his own controul, per- 
petually led him into difficulties from which his 
ingenuity alone could extricate him ; and the 
accumulating pile of debts of honour and of 
trade, which would have bent to earth any 
other, was supported by him with a hght spirit 
and tameless hilarity ; while his company was 
so necessary at the tables and assemblies of the 
rich, that his derehctions were considered ve- 
b2 



4 THE LAST MAN. 

nial, and he himself received wiih intoxicating 
flattery. 

This kind of popularity, like every other, is 
evanescent : and the difficulties of every kind 
with which he had to contend, increased in a 
frightful ratio compared with his small means 
of extricating himself. At such times the king, 
in his enthusiasm for him, would come to his 
relief, and then kindly take his friend to task ; 
my father gave the best promises for amend- 
ment, but his social disposition, his craving for 
the usual diet of admiration, and more than all, 
the fiend of gambling, which fully possessed 
him, made his good resolutions transient, his 
promises vain. With the quick sensibihty 
peculiar to his temperament, he perceived his 
power in the brilliant circle to be on the wane. 
The king married; and the haughty princess 
of Austria, who became, as queen of England, 
the head of fashion, looked with harsh eyes on 
his defects, and with contempt on the affection 
her royal husband entertained for him. My 



THE LAST MAN. 5 

father felt that his fall was near; but so far 
from profiting by this last calm before the 
storm to save himself, he sought to forget anti- 
cipated evil by making still greater sacrifices to 
the deity of pleasure, deceitful and cruel arbiter 
of his destiny. 

The king, who was a man of excellent dis- 
positions, but easily led, had now become a 
willing disciple of his imperious consort. He 
was induced to look with extreme disapproba- 
tion, and at last with distaste, on my father's 
imprudence and follies. It is true that his pre- 
sence dissipated these clouds ; his warm-hearted 
frankness, brilliant sallies, and confiding de- 
meanour were irresistible : it was only when at a 
distance, while still renewed tales of his errors 
were poured into his royal friend's ear, that- he 
lost his influence. The queen's dextrous manage- 
ment was employed to prolong these absences, 
and gather together accusations. At length the 
king was brought to see in him a source of per- 
petual disquiet, knowing that he should pay for 



6 THE LAST MAN. 

the short-lived pleasure of his society by tedious 
homilies, and more painful narrations of excesses, 
the truth of which he could not disprove. The 
result was, that he would make one more attempt 
to reclaim him, and in case of ill success, cast 
him off for ever. 

Such a scene must have been one of deepest 
interest and high-wrought passion. A powerful 
king, conspicuous for a goodness which had 
heretofore made him meek, and now lofty in 
his admonitions, with alternate entreaty and 
reproof, besought his friend to attend to his real 
interests, resolutely to avoid those fascinations 
which in fact were fast deserting him, and to 
spend his great powers on a worthy field, in 
which hCj his sovereign, would be his prop, his 
stay, and his pioneer. My father felt this kind- 
ness ; for a moment ambitious dreams floated 
before him ; and he thought that it would be 
well to exchange his present pursuits for nobler 
duties. With sincerity and fervour he gave the 
required promise : as a pledge of continued fa- 



THE LAST MAN. 7 

vour, he received from his royal master a sum 
of money to defray pressing debts, and enable 
him to enter under good auspices his new ca- 
reer. That very night, while yet full of grati- 
tude and good resolves, this whole sum, and its 
amount doubled, was lost at the gaming-table. 
In his desire to repair his first losses, my father 
risked double stakes, and thus incurred a debt of 
honour he was wholly unable to pay. Ashamed 
to apply again to the king, he turned his back 
upon London, its false delights and clinging 
miseries; and, with poverty for his sole com- 
panion, buried himself in solitude among the 
liills and lakes of Cumberland. His wit, his 
bon mots, the record of his personal attractions, 
fascinating manners, and social talents, were 
long remembered and repeated from mouth to 
mouth. Ask where now was this favourite of 
fashion, this companion of the noble, this ex- 
celling beam, which gilt with alien splendour 
the assemblies of the courtly and the gay — you 
heard that he was under a cloud, a lost man ; 



8 THE LAST MATT. 

not one thought it belonged to him to repay 
pleasure by real services, or that his long reign 
of brilHant wit deserved a pension on retiring. 
The king lamented his absence; he loved to 
repeat his sayings, relate the adventures they 
had had together, and exalt his talents — but 
here ended his reminiscence. 

Meanwhile my father, forgotten, could not 
forget. He repined for the loss of what was 
more necessary to him than air or food — the 
excitements of pleasure, the admiration of the 
noble, the luxurious and polished living of the 
great. A nervous fever was the consequence; 
during which he was nursed by the daughter of 
a poor cottager, under whose roof he lodged. 
She was lovely, gentle, and, above all, kind to 
him ; nor can it afford astonishment, that the late 
idol of high-bred beauty should, even in a fallen 
state, appear a being of an elevated and won- 
drous nature to the lowly cottage-girl. The 
attachment between them led to the ill-fated 
marriage, of which I was the offspring. 



THE LAST MAN. 9 

Not with standino: the tenderness and sweetness 
«f my mother, her husband still deplored his 
degraded state. Unaccustomed to industry, he 
knew not in what way to contribute to the sup- 
port of his increasing family. Sometimes he 
thought of applying to the king; pride and 
shame for a while withheld him ; and, before 
his necessities became so imperious as to compel 
him to some kind of exertion, he died. For 
one brief interval before this catastrophe, he 
looked forward to the future, and contemplated 
with anguish the desolate situation in which his 
wife and children would be left. His last effort 
was a letter to the king, full of touching elo- 
quence, and of occasional flashes of that brilliant 
spirit which was an integral part of him. He 
bequeathed his widow and orphans to the friend- 
ship of his royal master, and felt satisfied that, 
by this means, their prosperity was better assured 
in his death than in his life. This letter was en- 
closed to the care of a nobleman, who, he did not 
b3 



10 THE LAST MAN. 

doubt, would perform the last and inexpensive 
office of placing it in the king's o^vn hand. 

He died in debt, and his little property was 
seized immediately by his creditors. My mo- 
ther, pennyless and burthened with two children, 
waited week after week, and month after month, 
in sickening expectation of a reply, which never 
came. She had no experience beyond her fa- 
ther's cottage ; and the mansion of the lord of 
the manor was the chiefest type of grandeur she 
could conceive. During my father's life, she had 
been made familiar with the name of royalty 
and the courtly circle ; but such things, ill ac- 
cording with her personal experience, appeared, 
after the loss of him who gave substance and 
reality to them, vague and fantastical. If, 
under any circumstances, she could have ac- 
quired sufficient courage to address the noble 
persons mentioned by her husband, the ill suc- 
cess of his own application caused her to banish 
the idea. She saw therefore no escape from 



THE LAST MAN. 11 

dire penury: perpetual care, joined to sorrow 
for the loss of the wondrous being, whom she 
continued to contemplate with ardent admira- 
tion, hard labour, and naturally delicate health, 
at length released her from the sad continuity of 
want and misery. 

The condition of her orphan children was 
peculiarly desolate. Her own father had been 
an emigrant from another part of the country, 
and had died long since : they had no one rela- 
tion to take them by the hand ; they were out- 
casts, paupers, unfriended beings, to whom the 
most scanty pittance was a matter of favour, and 
who were treated merely ^s children of peasants, 
yet poorer than the poorest, who, dying, had 
left them, a thankless bequest, to the close- 
handed charity of the land. 

I, the elder of the two, was five years old 
when my mother died. A remembrance of the 
discourses of my parents, and die communica- 
tions which my mother endeavoured to impress 
upon me concerning my father's friends, in slight 



12 THE LAST MAN. 

hope that I might one day derive benefit from 
the knowledge, floated hke an indistinct dream 
through my brain. I conceived that I was dif- 
ferent and superior to my protectors and com- 
panions, but I knew not how or wherefore. The 
sense of injury, associated with the name of king 
and noble, clung to me ; but I could draw no 
conclusions from such feelings, to serve as a 
guide to action. My first real knowledge of 
myself was as an unprotected orphan among 
the valleys and fells of Cumberland. I was in 
the service of a farmer; and with crook in hand, 
my dog at my side, I shepherded a numerous 
flock on the near uplands. I cannot say much 
in praise of such a life ; and its pains far ex- 
ceeded its pleasures. There was freedom in it, 
a companionship with nature, and a reckless 
loneliness; but these, romantic as they were, 
did not accord with the love of action and desire 
of human sympathy, characteristic of youth. 
Neither the care of my flock, nor the change of 
seasons, were sufficient to tame my eager spirit ; 



THE LAST MAN. 13 

my out-door life and unemployed time were the 
temptations that led me early into lawless habits. 
I associated with others friendless like myself; 
I formed them into a band, I was their chief 
and captain. All shepherd-boys alike, while 
our flocks were spread over the pastures, we 
schemed and executed many a mischievous 
prank, which drew on us the anger and re- 
.venge of the rustics. I was the leader and pro- 
tector of my comrades, and as I became dis- 
tinguished among them, their misdeeds were 
usually visited upon me. But while I endured 
punishment and pain in their defence with the 
spirit of an hero, I claimed as my reward their 
praise and obedience. 

In such a school my disposition became rug- 
ged, but firm. The appetite for admiration and 
small capacity for self-con troul which I in- 
herited from my father, nursed by adversity, 
made me daring and reckless. I was rough as 
the elements, and unlearned as the animals I 
tended. I often compared myself to them, and 



14 THE LAST MAN. 

finding that my chief superiority consisted in 
power, I soon persuaded myself that it was in 
power only that I was inferior to the chiefest 
potentates of the earth. Thus untaught in re- 
fined philosophy, and pursued by a restless 
feeling of degradation from my true station in 
society, I wandered among the hills of civilized 
England as uncouth a savage as the wolf-bred 
founder of old Rome. I owned but one law, it 
was that of the strongest, and my greatest deed 
of virtue was never to submit. 

Yet let me a little retract from this sentence 
I have passed on myself. My mother, when 
dying, had, in addition to her other half-for- 
gotten and misapplied lessons, committed, with 
solemn exhortation, her other child to my fra- 
ternal guardianship ; and this one duty I per- 
formed to the best of my ability, with all the 
zeal and affection of which mj nature was ca- 
pable. My sister was three years younger than 
myself; I had nursed her as an infant, and 
w^hen the difference of our sexes, by giving us 



THE LAST MAN. 15 

various occupations, in a ^reat measure divided 
uSj yet she continued to be the object of my 
careful love. Orphans, in the fullest sense of 
the term, we were poorest among the poor, and 
despised among the unhonoured. If my daring 
and courage obtained for me a kind of respect- 
ful aversion, her youth and sex, since they did 
not excite tenderness, by proving her to be 
weak, were the causes of numberless mortifica- 
tions to her ; and her o^vn disposition was not 
so constituted as to diminish the evil eiFects of 
her lowly station. 

She was a singular being, and, like me, in- 
herited much of the peculiar disposition of our 
father. Her countenance was all expression; 
her eyes were not dark, but impenetrably deep ; 
you seemed to discover space after space in 
their intellectual glance, and to feel that the 
soul which was their soul, comprehended an 
universe of thought in its ken. She was pale 
and fair, and her golden hair clustered on her 
temples, contrasting its rich hue with the living 



16 THE LAST MAN. 

marble beneath, Her coarse peasant dress, 
little consonant apparently with the refinement 
of feeling which her face expressed, yet in a 
strange manner accorded with it. She was like 
one of Guido's saints, with heaven in her heart 
and in her look, so that when you saw her you 
only thought of that within, and costume and 
even feature were secondary to the mind that 
beamed in her countenance. 

Yet though lovely and full of noble feeling, 
my poor Perdita (for this was the fanciful name 
my sister had received from her dying parent), 
was not altogether saintly in her disposition. 
Her manners were cold and repulsive. If she 
had been nurtured by those who had regarded 
her with afiection, she might have been dif- 
ferent; but unloved and neglected, she repaid 
w^ant of kindness with distrust and silence. She 
was submissive to those who held authority over 
her, but a perpetual cloud dwelt on her brow ; 
she looked as if she expected enmity from every 
one who approached her, and her actions were 



THE LAST MAN. 17 

instigated by the same feeling. All the time 
she could command she spent in sohtude. She 
would ramble to the most unfrequentd places, 
and scale dangerous heights, that in those un- 
visited spots she might wrap herself in loneh- 
ness. Often she passed whole hours walking 
up and down the paths of the woods ; she wove 
garlands of flowers and ivy- or watched the 
•flickering of the shadows and glancing of the 
leaves ; sometimes she sat beside a stream, and 
as her thoughts paused, threw flowers or peb- 
bles into the waters, watching how those swam 
and these sank ; or she would set afloat boats 
formed of bark of trees or leaves, with a feather 
for a sail, and intensely watch the navigation of 
her craft among the rapids and shallows of the 
brook. Meanwhile her active fancy wove a 
thousand combinations ; she dreamt " of moving 
accidents by flood and field" — she lost herself 
delightedly in these self-created wanderings, and 
returned with unwilling spirit to the dull detail 
of common life. 



18 THE LAST MAN. 

Poverty was the cloud that veiled her excel- 
lencies, and all that was good in her seemed 
about to perish from want of the genial dew of 
aflPection. She had not even the same advan- 
tage as I in the recollection of her parents ; she 
clung to me, her brother, as her only friend, 
but her alliance with me completed the distaste 
that her protectors felt for her ; and every error 
was magnified by them into crimes. If she had 
been bred in that sphere of life to which by in- 
heritance the delicate framework of her mind 
and person was adapted, she would have been 
tlie object almost of adoration, for her virtues 
were as eminent as her defects. All the genius 
that ennobled the blood of her father illustrated 
hers ; a generous tide flowed in her veins ; ar- 
tifice, envy, or meanness, were at the antipodes 
of her nature ; her countenance, when enlight- 
ened by amiable feeling, might have belonged 
to a queen of nations ; her eyes were bright ; her 
look fearless. 

Although by our situation and dispositions 



THE LAST MAN. 19 

we were almost equally cut off from the usual 
forms of social intercourse, we formed a strong 
contrast to each other. I always required the 
stimulants of companionship and applause. Per- 
dita was all-sufficient to herself. Notwithstand- 
ing my lawless habits, my disposition was socia- 
ble, hers recluse. My life was spent among 
tangible reahties, hers was a dream. I might 
be said even to love my enemies, since by ex- 
citing me they in a sort bestowed happiness 
upon me ; Perdita almost disliked her friends, 
for they interfered with her visionary moods. 
All my feelings, even of exultation and triumph, 
were changed to bitterness, if unparticipated ; 
Perdita, even in joy, fled to loneliness, and 
could go on from day to day, neither expressing 
her emotions, nor seeking a fellow-feeling in 
another mind. Nay, she could love and dwell 
with tenderness on the look and voice of her 
friend, while her demeanour expressed the 
coldest reserv^e. A sensation with her became a 
sentiment, and she never spoke until she had 



»U THE LAST MAN. 

mingled her perceptions of outward objects with 
others which were the native growth of her own 
mind. She was Hke a fruitful soil that imbibed 
the airs and dews of heaven, and gave them 
forth again to light in loveliest forms of fruits 
and flowers ; but then she was often dark and 
rugged as that soil, raked up, and new sown 
with unseen seed. 

She dwelt in a cottage whose trim grass-plat 
sloped down to the waters of the lake of Uls- 
water ; a beech wood stretched up the hill be- 
hind, and a purling brook gently falling from 
the acclivity ran through poplar-shaded banks 
into the lake. I Hved with a farmer whose 
house was built higher up among the hills : a 
dark crag rose behind it, and, exposed to the 
north, the snow lay in its crevices the summer 
through. Before dawn I led my flock to the 
sheep-walks, and guarded them through the 
day. It was a life of toil; for rain and cold 
were more frequent than sunshine ; but it was 
my pride to contemn the elements. My trusty 



THE LAST MAN. SI 

dog watched the sheep as I shpped away to the 
rendezvous of mv comrades, and thence to the 
accomplishment of our schemes. At noon we 
met again, and we threw away in contempt our 
peasant fare, as we built our fire-place and 
kindled the cheering blaze destined to cook the 
game stolen from the neighbouring preserves. 
Then came the tale of hair-breadth escapes, 
combats with dogs, ambush and flight, as 
gipsey-like we encompassed our pot. The 
search after a stray lamb, or the devices by 
which we elude or endeavoured to elude punish- 
ment, filled up the hours of afternoon ; in the 
evening my flock went to its fold, and I to my 
sister. 

It was seldom indeed that we escaped, to use 
an old-fashioned phrase, scot free. Our dainty 
fare was often exchanged for blows and impri- 
sonment. Once, when thirteen years of age, I 
was sent for a month to the county jail. I 
came out, my morals unimproved, my hatred to 
my oppressors encreascd tenfold. Bread and 



22 THE LAST MAN. 

water did not tame my blood, nor solitary 
confinement inspire me with gentle thoughts. 
I was angry, impatient, miserable ; my only 
happy hours were those during which I devised 
schemes of revenge ; these were perfected in my 
forced solitude, so that during the whole of the 
following season, and I was freed early in Sep- 
tember, I never failed to provide excellent and 
plenteous fare for myself and my comrades. 
This was a glorious winter. The sharp frost 
and heavy snows tamed the animals, and kept 
the country gentlemen by their firesides; we 
got more game than we could eat, and my faith- 
ful dog grew sleek upon our refuse. 

Thus years passed on ; and years only added 
fresh love of freedom, and contempt for all that 
was not as wild and rude as myself. At the 
age of sixteen I had shot up in appearance to 
man's estate ; I was tall and athletic ; I was 
practised to feats of strength, and inured to the 
inclemency of the elements. My skin was em- 
browned by the sun ; my step was firm with 



THE LAST MAN. ^ 

conscious power. I feared no man, and loved 
none. In after life I looked back with wonder 
to what I then was; how utterly worthless I 
should have become if I had pursued my law- 
less career. My life was like that of an animal, 
and my mind was in danger of degenerating 
into that which informs brute nature. Un- 
til now, my savage habits had done me no 
radical miscliief ; my physical powers had grown 
up and flourished under their influence, and my 
mind, undergoing the same disciphne, was im- 
bued with all the hardy virtues. But now 
my boasted independence was daily instigating 
me to acts of tyranny, and freedom was be- 
coming licentiousness. I stood on the brink of 
manhood; passions, strong as the trees of a fo- 
rest, had already taken root within me, and 
were about to shadow with their noxious over- 
growth, my path of life. 

I panted for enterprises beyond my childish 
exploits, and formed distempered dreams of fu- 
ture action. I avoided my ancient comrades. 



S4 THE LAST MAN. 

and I soon lost them. They arrived at the age 
when they were sent to fulfil their destined 
situations in life ; while I, an outcast, with 
none to lead or drive me forward, paused. The 
old began to point at me as an example, 
the young to wonder at me as a being distinct 
from themselves ; I hated them, and began, 
last and worst degradation, to hate myself. I 
clung to my ferocious habits, yet half despised 
them ; I continued my war against civilization, 
and yet entertained a wish to belong to it. 

I revolved again and again all that I remem- 
bered my mother to have told me of my father's 
former life ; I contemplated the few relics I 
possessed belonging to him, which spoke of 
greater refinement than could be found among 
the mountain cottages ; but nothing in all this 
served as a guide to lead me to another and 
pleasanter way of life. My father had been 
connected with nobles, but all I knew of such 
connection was subsequent neglect. The name 
of the king,~he to whom my dying father had 



THE LAST MAN. 25 

addressed his latest prayers, and who had bar- 
barously slighted them, was associated only 
with the ideas of unkindness, injustice, and 
consequent resentment. I was born for some- 
thing greater than I was — and greater I would 
become; but greatness, at least to my distorted 
perceptions, was no necessary associate of good- 
ness, and my wild thoughts were unchecked by 
moral considerations when they rioted in dreams 
of distinction. Thus I stood upon a pinnacle, 
a sea of evil rolled at my feet ; I was about to 
precipitate myself into it, and rush like a tor- 
rent over all obstructions to the object of my 
wishes — when a stranger influence came over 
the current of my fortunes, and changed, their 
boisterous course to what was in comparison 
like the gentle meanderings of a meadow-en- 
circling streamlet. 



VOL. I. 



26 THE LAST MAN. 



CHAPTER IL 



I LIVED far from the busy haunts of meir^ 
and the rumour of wars or political changes came 
worn to a mere sound, to our mountain abodes. 
England had been the scene of momentou.s 
struggles, during my early boyhood. In the 
year 2073, the last of its kings, the ancient 
friend of my father, had abdicated in com- 
pliance with the gentle force of the remon- 
strances of his subjects, and a republic was in- 
stituted. Large estates were secured to the 
dethroned monarch and his family ; he received 
the- title of Earl of Windsor, and Windsor 
Castle, an ancient royalty, with its wide de- 
mesnes were a part of his allotted weakh. He 



THE LAST MAN. 27 

died soon after, leaving two children, a son 
and a daughter. 

The ex-queen, a princess of the house of 
Austria, had long impelled her husband to 
withstand the necessity of the times. She was 
haughty and fearless ; she cherished a love of 
power, and a bitter contempt for him who had 
despoiled himself of a kingdom. For her chil- 
di-en's sake alone she consented to remain, 
shorn of regality, a member of the English 
republic. When she became a widow, she 
turned all her thoughts to the educating her son 
Adrian, second Earl of Windsor, so as to accom- 
plish her ambitious ends ; and with his mother's 
milk he imbibed, and was intended to grow up 
in the steady purpose of re-acquiring his lost 
crown. Adrian was now fifteen years of age. 
He was addicted to study, and imbued beyond 
his years w4th learning and talent : report said 
that he had already begun to thwart his mother's 
views, and to entertain republican principles. 
However this might be, the haughty Countess 
c 2 



S8 THE LAST MAN. 

entrusted none with the secrets of her family- 
tuition. Adrian was bred up in soHtude, and 
kept apart from the natural companions of his 
age and rank. Some unknown circumstance 
now induced his mother to send him from under 
her immediate tutelao;e ; and we heard that he 
was about to visit Cumberland. A thousand 
tales were rife, explanatory of the Countess of 
Windsor's conduct ; none true probably ; but 
each day it became more certain that we should 
have the noble scion of the late regal house of 
England among us. 

There was a large estate with a mansion at- 
tached to it, belonging to this family, at Uls- 
v,'ater. A large park was one of its appendages, 
laid out with great taste, and plentifully stocked 
witli game. I had often made depredations on 
these preserves ; and the neglected state of the 
property facilitated my incursions. When it 
was decided that the young Earl of Windsor 
should visit Cumberland, workmen arrived to 
put the house and grounds in order for his re- 



THE LAST MAK. 29 

ceptlon. The apartments were restored to their 
pristine splendour, and the park, all disrepairs 
restored, was guarded with unusual care. 

I was beyond measure disturbed by this in- 
telligence. It roused all my dormant recollec- 
tions, my suspended sentiments of injury, and 
gave rise to the new one of revenge. I could 
no longer attend to my occupations; all my 
plans and devices were forgotten ; I seemed 
about to begin life anew, and that under no 
good auspices. The tug of war, I thought, 
was now to begin. He would come triumph- 
antly to the district to which my parent had 
fled broken-hearted ; he would find the ill- 
fated offspring, bequeathed with such vain con- 
fidence to his royal father, miserable paupers. 
That he should know of our existence, and 
treat us, near at hand, with the same contumely 
which his father had practised in distance and 
absence, appeared to me the certain consequence 
of all that had gone before. Thus then I 
should meet this titled stripling — the son of 



30 THE LAST MAN. 

my father's friend. He would be hedged iii 
by servants; nobles, and the sons of nobles, 
were his companions; all England rang with 
his name ; and his coming, like a thunderstorm, 
was heard from far : while I, unlettered and 
unfashioned, should, if I came in contact with 
him, in the judgment of his courtly followers, 
bear evidence in my very person to the propriety 
of that ingratitude which had made me the de- 
graded being I appeared. 

With my mind fully occupied by these ideas, 
I might be said as if fascinated, to haunt the 
destined abode of the young Earl. I watched 
the progress of the improvements, and stood by 
the unlading waggons, as various articles of 
luxury, brought from London, were taken 
forth and conveyed into the mansion. It was 
part of the Ex-Queen's plan, to surround her 
son with princely magnificence. I beheld rich 
carpets and silken hangings, ornaments of gold, 
richly embossed metals, emblazoned furniture, 
and all the appendages of high rank arranged^ 



THE LAST 3IAX. 31 

SO that nothing but what was regal in splen- 
dour should reach the eye of one of royal 
descent. I looked on these ; I turned my gaze 
to my own mean dress. — Whence sprung this 
difference ? Whence but from ingratitude, 
from falsehood, from a dereliction on the part 
of the prince's father, of all noble sympathy and 
generous feeling. Doubtless, he also, whose 
blood received a mingling tide from his proud 
mother — he, the acknowledged focus of the 
kingdom's wealth and nobility, had been taught 
to repeat my father's name with disdain, and to 
scoff at my just claims to protection. I strove 
to think that all this grandeur was but more 
glaring infamy, and that, by planting his gold- 
en woven flag beside my tarnished and tattered 
banner, he proclaimed not his superiority, but 
his debasement. Yet I envied him. His stud 
of beautiful horses, his arms of costly workman- 
ship, the praise that attended him, the adoration, 
ready servitor, higfi place and high esteem, — I 
considered them as forcibly wrenched from me. 



32 THi: LAST MAX. 

and envied them all with novel and tormenting 
bitterness. 

To crown my vexation of spirit, Perdita, the 
visionary Perdita, seemed to awake to real life 
with transport, when she told me that the Earl 
of Windsor w^as about to arrive. 

" And this pleases you.'^" I observed, 
moodily. 

" Indeed it does, Lionel," she replied ; "I 
quite long to see him ; he is the descendant of 
our kings, the first noble of the land: every 
one admires and loves him, and they say that 
his rank is his least merit ; he is generous, 
brave, and affable." 

" You have learnt a pretty lesson, Perdita," 
said I, " and repeat it so literally, that you 
forget the while the proofs we have of the EarFs 
virtues ; his generosity to us is manifest in our 
plenty, his bravery in the protection he affords 
us, his affability in the notice he takes of us. 
His rank liis least merit, do you say ? Why, 
all his virtues are derived from his station only ; 



THE LAST MAX. 33 

Ijecause he is rich, he is called generous ; be- 
cause he is powerful, brave; because he is well 
served, he is affable. Let them call him so, 
let all England believe him to be thus— we 
know him — he is our enemy — our penurious, 
dastardly, arrogant enemy; if he were gifted 
with one particle of the virtues you call his, 
he would do justly by us, if it were only to 
shew, that if he must strike, it should not be a 
fallen foe. His father injured my father — his 
father, unassailable on his throne, dared de- 
spise him who only stooped beneath himself, 
when he deigned to associate witli the royal 
ingrate. We, descendants from the one and 
the other, must be enemies also. He shall find 
that I can feel my injuries ; he shall learn to 
dread my revenge !'' 

A few days after he arrived. Every inha- 
bitant of the most miserable cottage, went to 
swell the stream of population that poured 
forth to meet him : even Perdita, in spite of my 
late philippic, crept near the highway, to behold 
c3 



S4 THE LAST MAK. 

this idol of all hearts. I, driven half mad, as 
I met party after party of the country people, in 
their holiday best, descending the hills, escaped 
to their cloud-veiled summits, and looking on 
the sterile rocks about me, exclaimed—" They 
do not cry, long live the Earl !" Nor, when 
night came, accompanied by drizzling rain and 
cold, would I return home ; for I knew that 
each cottage rang with the praises of Adrian ; 
as I felt my limbs grow numb and chill, my 
pain served as food for my insane aversion ; 
nay, I almost triumphed in it, since it seemed 
to afford me reason and excuse for my hatred 
of my unheeding adversary. All was attributed 
to him, for I confounded so entirely the idea of 
father and son, that I forgot that the latter 
might be wholly unconscious of his parent's ne- 
glect of us ; and as I struck my aching head with 
my hand, I cried : "^ He shall hear of this ! I 
Avill be revenged ! I will not suffer like a 
spaniel ! He shall know, beggar and friendless as 
I am, that I will not tamely submit to injury !" 



THE LAST MAN. 35 

Each day, each hour added to these exagge- 
rated wrongs. His praises were so many adders 
stings infixed in my vulnerable breast. If I 
saw him at a distance, riding a beautiful horse, 
my blood boiled with rage; the air seemed 
poisoned by his presence, and my very native 
EngUsh was changed to a vile jargon, since every 
phrase I heard was coupled with liis name and 
"honour. I panted to relieve this painful heart- 
burning by some misdeed that should rouse him 
to a sense of my antipathy. It was the heigh i 
of his offending, that he should occasion in me 
such intolerable sensations, and not deign him- 
self to afford any demonstration that he was 
aware that I even hved to feel them. 

It soon became known that Adrian took great 
delight in his park and preserves. He never 
sported, but spent hours in watching the tribes 
of lovely and ahnost tame animals with which 
it was stocked, and ordered that greater care 
should be taken of them than ever. Here was 
an opening for my plans of offence, and I made 



36 THE LAST MAN. 

use of it with all the brute impetuosity I derived 
from my active mode of life. I proposed the 
enterprize of poaching on his demesne to my 
few remaining comrades, who were the most de- 
termined and lawless of the crew ; but they all 
shrunk from the peril ; so I was left to achieve 
my revenge myself. At first my exploits were 
unperceived; I increased in daring; footsteps 
on the dewy grass, torn boughs, and marks of 
slaughter, at length betrayed me to the game- 
keepers. They kept better watch ; I was taken, 
and sent to prison. I entered its gloomy walls 
in a fit of triumphant extasy : " He feels me 
now,"' I died, '' and shall, again and again !" 
— I passed but one day in confinement ; in the 
evening I was Hberated, as I was told, by the or- 
der of the Earl himself. This news precipitated 
me from my self-raised pinnacle of honour. He 
despises me, I thought ; but he shall learn that I 
despise him, and hold in equal contempt his 
punishments and his clemency. On the second 
uight after my release, I was again taken by 



THE LAST MAN. 37 

the gamekeepers — again imprisoned ^ and again 
released; and again, such was my pertinacity, 
did the fourch night find mo in the forbidden 
park. The gamekeepers were more enraged 
than their lord by my obstinacy. They had re- 
ceived orders that if 1 were again taken, I should 
be brought to the Earl ; and his lenity made 
them expect a conclusion which they considered 
ill befitting my crime. One of them, who had 
been from the first the leader among those who 
had seized me, resolved to satisfy his own 
resentment, before he made me over to the 
higher powers. 

The late setting of the moon, and the extreme 
caution I was obhged to use in this my third 
expedition, consumed so much time, that some- 
thing like a qualm of fear came over me when 
I perceived dark night yield to twilight. I 
crept along by the fern, on my hands and 
knees, seeking the shadowy coverts of the un- 
derwood, while the birds awoke with unwelcome 
song above, and the fresh morning wind, play- 



CJ» THE LAST MA>f. 

ing among the boughs, made me suspect a foot- 
fall at each turn. My heart beat quick as I 
approached the palings ; my hand was on one of 
them, a leap would take me to the other side, 
when two keepers sprang from an ambush upon 
me: one knocked me down, and proceeded to 
inflict a severe horse- whipping. I started up — 
a knife was in my grasp ; I made a plunge at 
his raised right arm, and inflicted a deep, wide 
wound in his hand. The rage and yells of the 
wounded man, the howling execrations of his 
comrade, which I answered with equal bitter- 
ness and fury, echoed through the dell ; morn- 
ing broke more and more, ill accordant in its 
celestial beauty with our brute and noisy contest. 
I and my enemy were still struggling, when the 
wounded man exclaimed, " The Earl !" I sprang 
out of the herculean hold of the keeper, panting 
from my exertions ; I cast furious glances on my 
persecutors, and placing myself with my back to 
a tree, resolved to defend myself to the last. 
My garments were torn, and they, as well as 



THE LAST MAN. 39 

my hands, were stained with the blood of the 
man I had wounded; one hand grasped the 
dead birds — my hard-earned prey, the other 
held the knife; my hair was matted; my face 
besmeared with the same guilty signs that bore 
witness against me on the dripping instrument 
I clenched ; my whole appearance was haggard 
and squalid. Tall and muscular as I was in 
form, I must have looked like, what indeed 
I was, the merest ruffian that ever trod the 
earth. 

The name of the Earl startled me, and caused 
all the indignant blood that warmed my heart to 
rush into my cheeks ; I had never seen him be- 
fore; I figured to myself a haughty, assum- 
ing youth, who would take me to task, if he 
deigned to speak to me, with all the arrogance 
of superiority. My reply was ready ; a reproach 
I deemed calculated to sting his very heart. He 
came up the while ; and his appearance blew 
aside, with gentle western breath, my cloudy 
wrath : a tall, slim, fair boy, with a physiognomy 



40 THE LAST MAX. 

expressive of the excess of sensibility and refine- 
ment stood before me; the raornino: sunbeams 
tinged with gold his silken hair, and spread hght 
and glory over his beaming countenance. " How 
is this ?'''' he cried. The men eao:erly becjan their 
defence ; he put them aside, saying, " Two of you 
at once on a mere lad — for shame !*" He came up 
to me : "• Verne}^,'" he cried, " Lionel Verney, 
do we meet thus for the first time ? We were 
born to be friends to each other ; and though 
ill fortune has divided us, will you not acknow- 
ledge the hereditary bond of friendship which I 
trust will hereafter unite us .^" 

As he spoke, his earnest eyes, fixed on me, 
seemed to read my very soul: my heart, my 
savage revengeful heart, felt the influence of 
sweet benignity sink upon it ; while his thrilling 
voice, like sweetest melody, awoke a mute echo 
within me, stirring to its depths the life-blood 
in my frame. I desired to reply, to acknowledge 
his goodness, accept his proffered friendship; 
but words, fitting words, were not afforded to 



THE LAST MAy. 4rl 

the rough mountaineer ; I would have held out 
my hand, but its guilty stain restrained me. 
Adrian took pity on my faltering mien : " Come 
with me,"' he said, " I have much to say to you; 
come home with me — you know who T am ?" 

" Yes," I exclaimed, " I do believe that I 
now know you, and that you will pardon my 
mistakes — my crime.*" 

Adrian smiled gently; and after giving his 
orders to the gamekeepers, he came up to me ; 
putting his arm in mine, we walked together to 
the mansion. 

It was not his rank — after all that I have 
said, surely it will not be suspected that it was 
Adrian's rank, that, from the first, subdued my 
heart of hearts, and laid my entire spirit pro- 
strate before him. Nor was it I alone who felt 
thus intimately his perfections . his sensibility 
and courtesy fascinated every one. His vivacity, 
intelligence, and active spirit of benevolence, 
completed the conquest. Even at this early age, 
he was deep read and imbued with the spirit of 



42 THE LAST MAN 

high philosophy. This spirit gave a tone of 
irresistible persuasion to his intercourse with 
others, so that he seemed like an inspired mu- 
sician, who struck, with unerring skill, the " lyre 
of mind," and produced thence divine harmony. 
In person, he hardly appeared of this world; 
his slight frame was overinformed by the sou), 
that dwelt within ; he was all mind ; " Man but 
a rush against" his breast, and it would have 
conquered his strength ; but the might of his 
smile would have tamed an hungry lion, or 
caused a legion of armed men to lay their wea- 
pons at his feet. 

I spent the day with him. At first he did not 
recur to the past, or indeed to any personal oc- 
currences. He wished probably to inspire me 
with confidence, and give me time to gather to- 
gether my scattered thoughts. He talked of 
general subjects, and gave me ideas I had never 
before conceived. We sat in his library, and he 
spoke of the old Greek sages, and of the power 
which they had acquired over the m.inds of men, 



THE LAST MAX. 43 

through the force of love and wisdom only. 
The room was decorated with the busts of many 
of them, and he described their characters to 
me. As he spoke, I felt subject to him ; and 
all my boasted pride and strength were subdued 
by the honeyed accents of this blue-eyed boy. 
The trim and paled demesne of civilization, 
which I had before regarded from my wild 
jungle as inaccessible, had its wicket opened 
by him ; I stepped within, and felt, as I entered, 
that I trod my native soil. 

As evening came on, he reverted to the past. 
" I have a tale to relate," he said, '* and much 
explanation to give concerning the past ; perhaps 
you can assist me to curtail it. Do you remem- 
ber your father ? I had never the happiness of 
seeing him, but liis name is one of my earliest 
recollections : he stands written in my mind's ta- 
blets as the type of all that was gallant, amiable, 
and fascinating in man. His wit was not more 
conspicuous than the overflowing goodness of 
his heart, which he poured in such full measure 



44 THE LAST MAN. 

on his friends, as to leave, alas I small remnant 
for himself."" 

Encouraged by this encomium, I proceeded, 
in answer to his inquiries, to relate what I re- 
membered of my parent ; and he gave an account 
of those circumstances which had brought about 
a neglect of my fathers testamentary letter. 
When, in after times, Adrian's father, then king 
of England, felt his situation become more peril- 
ous, his line of conduct more embarrassed, again 
and again he wished for his early friend, who 
might stand a mound against the impetuous 
anger of his queen, a mediator between him and 
the parhament. From the time that he had 
quitted London, on the fatal night of his defeat 
at the gaming-table, the king had received no 
tidings concerning him ; and when, after the lapse 
of years, he exerted himself to discover him, every 
trace was lost. With fonder regret than ever, 
he clung to his memory ; and gave it in charge 
to his son, if ever he should meet this valued 
friend, in his name to bestow every succour, and 



THE LAST MAX. 45 

to assure him that, to the last, his attachment 
survived separation and silence. 

A short time before Adrian's visit to Cum- 
berland, the heir of the nobleman to whom my 
father had confided his last appeal to his royal 
master, put this letter, its seal unbroken, into 
the young Earl's hands. It had been found cast 
aside with a mass of papers of old date, and 
accident alone brouo^ht It to lio^ht. Adrian read 
it with deep interest ; and found there that 
living spirit of genius and wit he had so often 
lieard commemorated. He discovered the name 
of the spot whither my father had retreated, and 
where he died ; he learnt the existence of his 
orphan children ; and during the short interv'al 
between his arrival at Ulswater and our meeting; 
in the park, he had been occupied in making 
inquiries concerning us, and arranging a varietv 
of plans for our benefit, preliminary to his intro- 
ducing himself to our notice. 

The mode in which he spoke of my father 
was gratifying to my vanity; the veil which 



46 THE LAST MAN. 

he delicately cast over his benevolence, in alledg- 
ing a duteous fulfilment of the king's latest will, 
was soothing to my pride. Other feelings, less 
ambiguous, were called into play by his conciliat- 
ing manner and the generous warmth of his ex- 
pressions, respect rarely before experienced, admi- 
ration, and love — ^he had touched my rocky heart 
with his magic power, and the stream of aifection 
gushed forth, imperishable and pure. In the 
evening we parted ; he pressed my hand : " We 
shall meet again ; come to me to-morrow." I 
clasped that kind hand ; I tried to answer ; a 
fervent " God bless you !" was all my ignorance 
could frame of speech, and I darted away, op- 
pressed by my new emotions. 

I could not rest. I sought the hills; a 
west wind swept them, and the stars glittered 
above. I ran on, careless of outward objects, 
but trying to master the struggling spirit within 
me by means of bodily fatigue. " This," I 
thought, " is power ! Not to be strong of limb, 
hard of heart, ferocious, and daring ; but kind, 



THE LAST MAN. 47 

compassionate and soft." — Stopping short, I 
clasped my hands, and with the fervour of a 
new proselyte, cried, " Doubt me not, Adrian, 
I also will become \nse and good!"" and then 
quite overcome, I wept aloud. 

As this gust of passion passed from me, I 
felt more composed. I lay on the ground, and 
giving the reins to my thoughts, repassed in my 
mind my former] life ; and began, fold by fold, 
to unwind the many errors of my heait, and to 
discover how brutish, savage, and worthless I 
had hitherto been. I could not however at that 
time feel remorse, for methought I was born 
anew ; my soul threw off the burthen of past 
sin, to commence a new cai'eer in innocence and 
love. Nothing harsh or rough remained to jar 
with the soft feelings which the transactions of 
the day had inspired ; I was as a child lisp- 
ing its devotions after its mother, and my 
plastic soul was remoulded by a master hand, 
which I neither desired nor was able to resist. 

This was the first commencement of my 



4?0 THE LAST MAN. 

friendship with Adrian, and I must comme- 
morate this day as the most fortunate of my 
hfe. I now began to be human. I was ad- 
mitted within that sacred boundary which divides 
the intellectual and moral nature of man from 
that which characterizes animals. My best 
feelings were called into play to give fitting re- 
sponses to the generosity, wisdom, and amenity 
of my new friend. He, with a noble goodness 
all his own, took infinite delight in bestowing 
to prodigality the treasures of his mind and 
fortune on the long-neglected son of his father's 
friend, the offspring of that gifted being whose 
excellencies and talents he had heard comme- 
morated from infancy. 

After his abdication the late king had re- 
treated from the sphere of politics, yet his do- 
mestic circle afforded him small content. The ex- 
queen had none of the virtues of domestic life, 
and those of courage and daring which she pos- 
sessed were rendered null by the secession of 
her husband : she despised him, and did not 



THE LAST MAN". 49 

care to conceal her sentiments. The king had, 
in comphance with her exactions, cast off his 
old friends, but he had acquired no new ones 
under her guidance. In this dearth of sympathy, 
he had recourse to his almost infant son ; and 
the early development of talent and sensibility 
rendered Adrian no unfitting depository of his 
father's confidence. He was never weary of 
listening to the latter's often repeated accounts 
of old times, in which my father had played a 
distinguished part ; his keen remarks w^re re- 
peated to the boy, and remembered by him ; 
his wit, his fascinations, his very faults ^vere 
hallowed by the regret of affection ; his loss 
was sincerely deplored. Even the queen's dis- 
like of the favourite was ineffectual to deprive 
him of his son's admiration : it was bitter, sar- 
castic, contemptuous — but as she bestowed her 
heavy censui'e alike on his virtues as his errors, 
on his devoted friendship and his ill-bestowed 
loves, on his disinterestedness and his prodi- 
gality, on his pre-possessing grace of manner, 

VOL. I. D 



50 THE LAST MAN. 

and the facility with which he yielded to temp- 
tation, her double shot proved too heavy, and 
fell short of the mark. Nor did her angry 
dislike prevent Adrian from imaging my fa- 
ther, as he had said, the type of all that was 
gallant, amiable, and fascinating in man. It 
was not strange therefore, that when he heard 
of the existence of the offspring of this cele- 
brated person, he should have formed the plan 
of bestowing on them all the advantages his 
rank made him rich to afford. When he found 
me a vagabond shepherd of the hills, a poacher, 
an unlettered savage, still his kindness did not 
fail. In addition to the opinion he entertained 
that his father was to a degree culpable of ne- 
glect towards us, and that he was bound to every 
possible reparation, he was pleased to say that 
under all my ruggedness there glimmered forth 
an elevation of spirit, which could be distin- 
guished from mere animal courage, and that I 
inherited a similarity of countenance to my father, 
which gave proof that all his virtues and talents 



THE LAST MAX. 51 

had not died with him. Whatever those might 
be which descended to me, my noble young friend 
resolved should not be lost for want of culture. 

Acting upon this plan in our subsequent in- 
tercourse, he led me to wish to participate in 
that cultivation which o^raced his own intellect. 
My active mind, when once it seized upon this 
new idea, fastened on it with extreme avidity. 
At first it was the great object of my ambition 
to rival the merits of my fatlier, and render 
myself worthy of the friendship of Adrian. 
But curiosity soon awoke, and an earnest love 
of knowledge, which caused me to pass days 
and nights in reading and study. I was already 
well acquainted with what I may term the pa- 
norama of nature, the change of seasons, and 
the vai'ious appearances of heaven and earth. 
But I was at once startled and enchanted by 
my sudden extension of vision, when the cur- 
tain, which had been drawn before the intel- 
lectual world, was withdrawn, and I saw the 
universe, not only as it presented itself to my 
1)2 



UBRARY 
^N'VERSITYOF,U//VO/S 



52 THE LAST MAN. 

outward senses, but as it had appeared to the 
wisest among men. Poetry and its creations, 
philosophy and its researches and classifications, 
alike awoke the sleeping ideas in my mind, and 
gave me new ones. 

I felt as the sailor, who from the topmast 
first discovered the shore of America ; and hke 
him I hastened to tell my companions of my 
discoveries in unknown regions. But I was 
unable to excite in any breast the same craving 
appetite for knowledge that existed in mine. 
Even Perdita was unable to understand me. I 
had lived in what is generally called the world 
of reality, and it was awakening to a new 
country to find that there was a deeper meaning 
in all I saw, besides* that which my eyes con- 
veyed to me. The visionary Perdita beheld in 
all this only a new gloss upon an old reading, 
and her own was sufficiently inexhaustible to 
content her. She hstened to me as she had 
done to the narration of my adventures, and 
sometimes took an interest in this species of 



•THE LAST MAN. 53 

mformation ; but she did not, as I did, look on it 
as an integral part of her being, which having 
obtained, I could no more put off than the uni- 
vea-sal sense of touch. 

We both agreed in loving Adrian : although 
she not having yet escaped from childhood 
could not appreciate as I did the extent of his 
mei'its, or feel the same sympathy in his pur- 
suits and opinions. I was for ever with him. 
There was a sensibility and sweetness in his 
disposition, that gave a tender and unearthly 
tone to our converse. Then he was gay as a 
iark carolling from its skiey tower, soaring in 
thought as an eagle, innocent as the mild-eyed 
dove. He could dispel the seriousness of Per- 
dita, and take the sting from the torturing ac- 
tivity of my nature. I looked back to my 
restless desires and painful struggles with my 
fellow beings as to a troubled dream, and felt 
myself as much changed as if I had transmi- 
grated into another form, whose fresh senso- 
rium and mechansim of nerves had altered the re- 



O-* THE LAST MAN. 

flection of the apparent imiverse in the mirror 
of mind. But it was not so ; I was the pame in 
strength, in earnest craving for sympathy, in 
my yearning for active exertion. My manly 
virtues did not desert me, for the witch Urania 
spared the locks of Sampson, while he reposed 
at her feet ; but all was softened and humanized. 
Nor did Adrian instruct me only in the cold 
truths of history and philosophy. At the same 
time that he taught me by their means to 
subdue my own reckless and uncultured 
spirit, he opened to my view the living page 
of his own heart, and gave me to feel 
and understand its wondrous character. 

The ex-queen of England had, even during 
infancy, endeavoured to implant daring and am- 
bitious designs in the mind of her son. Sli€ 
saw that he was endowed with genius and sur- 
passing talent ; these she cultivated for the sake 
of afterwards using them for the furtherance of 
her own views. She encouraged his craving for 
knowledge and his impetuous courage ; she even 



THE LAST MAN. 55 

tolerated his tameless love of freedom, under 
the hope that this would, as is too often the 
case, lead to a passion for command. She en- 
deavoured to bring him up in a sense of resent- 
ment towards, and a desire to revenge himself 
upon, those who had been instrumental in bring- 
ing about his father^s abdication. In this she 
did not succeed. The accounts furnished him, 
however distorted, of a great and wise nation 
asserting its right to govern itself, excited his 
admiration : in early days he became a republi- 
can from principle- Still his mother did not 
despair. To the love of rule and haughty pride 
of birth she added determined ambition, patience, 
and self-control. She devoted herself to the 
study of her son's disposition. By the applica- 
tion of praise, censure, and exhortation, she tried 
to seek and strike the fitting chords ; and though 
the melody that followed her touch seemed dis- 
card to her, she built her hopes on his talents, 
and felt sure that she would at last win him. 



56 THE LAST MAir. 

The kind of banishment he now experienced 
arose from other causes. 

The ex-queen had also a daughter, now twelve 
years of age ; his fairy sister, Adrian was wont 
to call her ; a lovely, animated, little thing, all 
sensibility and truth. With these, her children^ 
the noble widow constantly resided at Windsor; 
and admitted no visitors, except her own parti- 
zans, travellers from her native Germany, and a 
few of the foreign ministers. Among these, and 
highly distinguished by her, was Prince Zaimi, 
ambassador to England from the free States 
of Greece ; and his daughter, the young 
Princess Evadne, passed much of her time at 
Windsor Castle. In company with this sprightly 
and clever Greek girl, the Countess would relax 
from her usual state. Her views with reo^ard 
to her own children, placed all her words and 
actions relative to them under restraint: but 
Evadne was a plaything she could in no way 
fear; nor were her talents and vivacity slight 



THE LAST MAN. 57 

alleviations to the monotony of the Countess's 
life. 

Evadne was eighteen years of age. Although 
they spent much time together at Windsor, the 
extreme youth of Adrian prevented any suspi- 
cion as to the nature of their intercourse. But 
he was ardent and tender of heart beyond the com- 
mon nature of man, and had already learnt to love, 
"while the beauteous Greek smiled benlgnantly on 
the boy. It was strange to me, who, though older 
than Adrian, had never loved, to witness the whole 
heart's sacrifice of my friend. There was neither 
jealousy, inquietude, or mistrust in his sentiment; 
it was devotion and faith. His life was swallowed 
up in the existence of his beloved ; and his heart 
beat only in unison with the pulsations that vivi- 
fied hers. This was the secret law of his life — 
he loved and was beloved. The universe was to 
him a dwelling, to inhabit with his chosen one ; 
and not either a scheme of society or an en- 
chainment of events, that could impart to him 
either happiness or misery. What, though 
d3 



58 THE LAST MAN". 

life and the system of social intercourse were a 
wilderaess, a tiger-haunted jungle { Through the 
midst of its errors, in the depths of its savage 
recesses, there was a disentangled and flowery 
pathway, through which they might journey in 
safety and dehght. Their track would be like 
the passage of the Red Sea, which they 
might traverse with unwet feet, though a 
wall of destruction were impending on either 
side. 

Alas ! why must I record the hapless delusion 
of this matchless specimen of humanity ? What 
is there in our nature that is for ever urging us 
on towards pain and misery ? We are not formed 
for enjoyment ; and, however we may be attuned 
to the reception of pleasureable emotion, disap- 
pointment is the never-failing pilot of our life's 
bark, and ruthlessly carries us on to the shoals. 
Who was better framed than this highly-gifted 
youth to love and be beloved, and to reap un- 
alienable joy from an unblamed passion ? If his 
heart had slept but a few years longer, he might 



THE LAST MAN. 59 

have been saved ; but it awoke in its infancy ; 
it had power, but no knowledge; and it was 
ruined, even as a too early-blowing bud is nipt 
by the killing frost. 

I did not accuse Evadne of hypocrisy or a 
wish to deceive her lover ; but the first letter that 
I saw of hers convinced me that she did not 
love liim ; it was written with elegance, and, 
foreigner as she was, with great command of 
language. The hand-writing itself was exqui- 
sitely beautiful ; there was something in her 
very paper and its folds, which even I, who did not 
love, and was withal unskilled in such matters, 
could discern as being tasteful. There was much 
kindness, gratitude, and sweetness in her expres- 
sion, but no love. Evadne was two years older 
than Adrian ; and who, at eighteen, ever loved 
one so much their junior ? I compared her placid 
epistles with the burning ones of Adrian. His soul 
seemed to distil itself into the words he wrote; and 
they breathed on the paper, bearing with them a 
portion of the life of love, which was his hfe. 



60 THE LAST :^rA^^ 

The very writing used to exhaust him ; and he 
would weep over them, merely from the excess 
of emotion they awakened in his heart. 

Adrian's soul was painted in his countenance, 
and concealment or deceit v>'ere at the antipodes 
to the dreadless frankness of his nature. Evadne 
made it her earnest request that the tale of their 
]oves should not be revealed to his mother ; and 
after for a while contesting the point, he yielded 
it to her. A vain concession ; his demeanour 
quickly betrayed his secret to the quick eyes of 
the ex-queen. With the same wary prudence 
that characterized her whole conduct, she con- 
cealed her discovery, but hastened to remove 
her son from the sphere of the attractive Greek. 
He was sent to Cumberland ; but the plan of 
correspondence between the lovers, arranged by 
Evadne, was effectually hidden from her. Thus 
the absence of Adrian, concerted for the purpose 
of separating, united them in firmer bonds than 
ever. To me he discoursed ceaselessly of his 
beloved Ionian. Her country, its ancient an- 



THE LAST MAN. 61 

nals, its late memorable struggles, were all made 
to partake in her glory and excellence. He sub- 
mitted to be away from her, because she com- 
manded this submission ; but for her influence, 
he would have declared his attachment before 
all England, and resisted, with unshaken con- 
stancy, his mother's opposition. Evadne's femi- 
nine prudence perceived how useless any asser- 
tion of his resolves would be, till added years 
gave weight to his power. Perhaps there was 
besides a lurking dislike to bind herself in the 
face of the world to one whom she did not love 
— not love, at least, with that passionate enthu- 
siasm which her heart told her she might one 
day feel towards another. He obeyed her in- 
junctions, and passed a year in exile in Cum- 
berland. 



62 THE LAST MAK* 



CHAPTER III 



Happy, thrice happy, were the months, and 
weeks, and hours of that year. Friendship, 
hand in hand with admiration, tenderness 
and respect, built a bower of dehght in my 
Jieart, late rough as an untrod wild in America, 
as the homeless wind or herbless sea. Insatiate 
thirst for knowledge, and boundless affection 
for Adrian, combined to keep both my heart 
and understanding occupied, and I was conse- 
quently happy. What happiness is so true and 
unclouded, as the overflowing and talkative de- 
light of young people. In our boat, upon my 
native lake, beside the streams and the pale 
bordering poplars — in valley and over hill, my 



THE LAST MAN. 63 

crook thrown aside, a nobler flock to tend than 
silly sheep, even a flock of new-born ideas, I 
read or listened to Adi'ian ; and his discourse, 
whether it concerned his love or his theories for 
the improvement of man, alike entranced me. 
Sometimes my lawless mood would return, 
my love of peril, my resistance to authority; 
but this was in his absence ; under the mild 
sway of his dear eyes, I was obedient and good 
as a boy of five years old, who does his mother's 
bidding. 

After a residence of about a year at Uls- 
water, Adrian visited London, and came back 
full of plans for our benefit. You must begin 
life, he said : you are seventeen, and longer de- 
lay would render the necessary apprenticeship 
more and more irksome. He foresaw that his 
own life would be one of stniggle, and I must 
partake his labours with him. The better to 
fit me for this task, we must now separate. 
He found my name a good passport to pre- 
ferment, and he had procured for me the situa- 



64 THE LAST MAN. 

tcan of private secretary to the Ambassador at 
Vienna, where I should enter on my career 
under the best auspices. In two years, I 
should return to my country, with a name well 
known and a reputation already founded. 

And Perdita ? — Perdita was to become the 
pupil, friend and younger sister of Evadne. 
AVith his usual thoughtfulness, he had provided 
for her independence in this situation How 
refuse the offers of this generous friend ? — 
I did not wish to refuse them ; but in my heart 
of hearts, I made a vow to devote life, know- 
ledge, and power, all of which, in as much as 
they were of any value, he had bestowed on me 
— all, all my capacities and hopes, to him alone 
I would devote. 

Thus I promised myself, as I journied to- 
wards my destination with roused and ardent 
expectation : expectation of the fulfilment of 
all that in boyhood we promise ourselves of 
power and enjoyment in maturity. Methought 
the time was now arrived, when, childish occu- 



THE LAST MAN* 65 

pations laid aside, I should enter into life. 
Even in the Elysian fields, Virgil describes 
the sotds of the happy as eager to drink of 
the wave which was to restore them to this 
mortal coil. The young are seldom in Ely- 
sium, for their desires, outstripping possibility, 
leave them as poor as a moneyless debtor. We 
are told by the wisest philosophers of the 
dangers of the world, the deceits of men, and 
the treason of our own hearts : but not the less 
fearlessly does each put off his frail bark from 
the port, spread the sail, and strain his oar, to 
attain the multitudinous streams of the sea of 
life. How few in youth's prime, moor their 
vessels on the " golden sands,"" and collect the 
painted shells that strew them. But all at close 
of day, with riven planks and rent canvas make 
for shore, and are either wrecked ere they 
reach it, or find some wave-beaten haven, some 
desart straind, whereon to cast themselves and 
die unmourned. 

A truce to philosophy ! — Life is before me^ 



THE LAST MAX. 67 

of the Ambassador. All was strange and ad- 
mirable to the shepherd of Cumberland. With 
breathless amaze I entered on the gay scene, 
whose actors were 

the lilies dorious as Solomon. 



Who toil net, neither do they spin. 

Soon, too soon, I entered the giddy whirl ; 
forgetting my studious hours, and the compa- 
nionship of Adrian. Passionate desire of sym- 
pathy, and ardent pursuit for a wished-for ob- 
ject still characterized me. The sight of beauty 
entranced me, and attractive manners in man 
or woman won my entire confidence. I called 
it rapture, when a smile made my heart beat ; 
and I felt the life's blood tingle in ray fran^e, 
when I approached the idol which for awhile I 
worshipped. The mere flow of animal spirits 
was Paradise, and at night's close I only desired 
a renewal of the intoxicating delusion. The 
dazzling light of ornamented rooms; lovely 
forms arrayed in splendid dresses ; tlie motions 



68 THE LAST MAN. 

of a dance, the voluptuous tones of exquisite 
music, cradled my senses in one delightful 
dream. 

And is not this in its kind happiness ? I ap- 
peal to moralists and sages. I ask if in the 
cahn of their measured reveries, if in the deep 
meditations which fill their hours, they feel the 
extasy of a youthful tyro in the school of plea- 
sure ? Can the calm beams of their heaven- 
seeking eyes equal the flashes of mingling pas- 
sion which blind his, or does the influence of 
codd philosophy steep their soul in a joy equal 
to ills, engaged 

In this dear work of youthful revelry. 

Bnt in truth, neither the lonely meditations 
of tlie hermit, nor the tumultuous raptures of 
the reveller, are capable of satisfying mafi's 
heart. From the one we gather unquiet specu- 
lation, from the other satiety. The mind 
flags beneath the weight of thought, and droops 
in the heartless intercourse of those whose 



THE LAST MAN. 69 

sole aim is amusement. There is no fruition 
in their vacant kindness, and sharp rocks lurk 
beneath the smiling ripples of these shallow 
waters. 

Thus I felt, when disappointment, weariness, 
and solitude drove me back upon my heart, to 
gather thence the joy of Mbich it had become 
barren. My flagging spirits asked for something 
to speak to the affections ; and not finding it, I 
drooped. Thus, notwithstanding the thought- 
less delight that waited on its commencement, 
the impression I have of my life at Vienna is 
melancholy. Goethe has said, that in youth v/e 
cannot be happy unless we love. I did not love ; 
but I was devoured by a restless wish to be 
something to others. I became the victim of 
ingratitude and cold coquetry — then I desponded, 
and imagined that my discontent gave me a right 
to hate the world. I receded to solitude ; I had 
recourse to my books, and ray desire again to en- 
joy the society of Adrian became a burning thirst. 

Emulation, that in its excess almost assumed 



70 THE LAST MAN. 

the venomous properties of envy, gave a sting 
to tliese feelings. At this period the name and 
exploits of one of my countrymen filled the world 
with admiration. Relations of what he had done, 
conjectures concerning his future actions, were 
the never- failing topics of the hour. I was not 
angry on my own account, but I felt as if the 
j>raises which this idol received were leaves torn 
from laurels destined for Adrian. But I must 
enter into some account of this darling of fam.e 
— tliis favourite of the wonder-loving world. 

Lord Raymond was the sole remnaht of a 
noble but impoverished family. From early 
youth he had considered his pedigree with 
complacency, and bitterly lamented his want of 
wealth. His first wish was aggrandisement; and 
the means that led towards this end were se- 
condary considerations. Haughty, yet trembling 
to every demonstration of respect; ambitious, 
but too proud to shew his ambition ; willing to 
achieve honour, yet a votary of pleasure, — he 
entered upon life. He was met on the threshold 



THE LAST MAN. 71" 

by some insult, real or imaginary; some repulse, 
where he least expected it ; some disap]X)int- 
ment, hard for his pride to bear. He writhed 
beneath an injury he Avas unable to revenge ; 
and he quitted England with a vow not to re- 
tuni, till the good time should arrive, when she 
might feel the power of him she now despised. 

He became an adventurer in the Greek wars. 
His reckless courage and comprehensive genius 
brought him into notice. He became the dar- 
ling hero of this rising people. His fore'gn 
birtli, and he refused to throw off his allegiance 
to hi^s native country, alone prevented him from 
filling the first offices in the state. But, though 
others might rank higher in title and ceremony, 
Lord Raymond held a station above and beyond 
all tliis. He led the Greek armies to victory ; their 
triumphs were all his own. When he appeared, 
whole towns poured forth their popidation to 
meet him ; new songs were adapted to their na- 
tional airs, whose themes were his glory, valour, 
and munificence. 



7S THE LAST MAN. 

A truce was concluded between the Greeks 
and Turks. At the same tmie, Lord Raymond, 
by some unlooked-for chance, became the pos- 
sessor of an immense fortune in England, whi- 
ther he returned, crowned with glory, to receive 
the meed of honour and distinction before de- 
nied to his pretensions. His proud heart rebelled 
against this change. In what was the despised Ray- 
mond not the same ? If the acquisition of power 
in the shape of wealth caused this alteration, 
that power should they feel as an iron yoke. 
Power therefore was the aim of all his endea- 
vours; aggrandizement ihe mark at which he 
for ever shot. In open ambition or close in- 
trigue, his end was the same — to attain the first 
station in his own country. 

This account filled me with curiosity. The 
events that in succession followed his return to 
England, gave me keener feelings. Among his 
other advantages. Lord Raymond was supremely 
handsome; every one admired him ; of women he 
was the idol. He was courteous, honey-tongued — 



THE LAST MAN. 73 

an adept in fascinating arts. What could not 
this man achieve in the busy Enghsh world ? 
Change succeeded to change ; the entire history 
did not reach me ; for Adrian had ceased to 
write, and Perdita was a laconic correspondent. 

The rumour went that Adrian had become 

how write the fatal word — mad: that Lord 
Raymond Mas the favourite of the ex-queen, 
her daughter's destined husband. Nay, more, 
that this aspiring noble revived the claim of the 
liouse of AVindsor to the crown, and that, on the 
event of Adrian's incurable disorder and his 
marriage with the sister, the brow of the ambi« 
tious Raymond might be encircled with the 
magic ring of regality. 

Such a tale filled the trumpet of many voiced 
fame ; such a tale rendered my longer stay at 
\ ienna, away from the friend of my youth, 
intolerable. Now I must fulfil my vow ; now 
range myself at his side, and be his ally and 
support till death. Farewell to courtly plea- 
sures ; to politic intrigue ; to the maze of 

VOL. 1. E 



74 THE LAST MAX. 

passion and folly ! All hail, England ! Native 
England, receive thy child ! thou art the scene 
of all my hopes, the mighty theatre on which 
is acted the only drama that can, heart and soul, 
bear me along with it in its development. A 
voice most irresistible, a power omnipotent, 
drew me thither. After an absence of two 
years I landed on its shores, not daring to make 
any inquiries, fearfid of every remark. My 
first visit would be to my sister, who inhabited 
a little cottage, a part of Adrian's gift, on the 
borders of Windsor Forest. From her I should 
learn the truth concerning our protector ; I 
should hear why she had withdrawn from the 
protection of the Princess Evadne, and be in- 
structed as to the influence wliich this over- 
topping and towering Raymond exercised over 
the fortunes of my friend. 

I had never before been in the neighbour- 
hood of Windsor ; the fertility and beauty of 
the country around now struck me with admi- 
ration, which encreased as I approached tlie 



THE LAST MAX. 75 

antique wood. The ruins of majestic oaks which 
had grown, flourished, and decayed during the 
progress of centuries, marked where the hmits 
of the forest once reached, while the shattered 
palings and neglected underwood shewed that 
this part was deserted for the younger plantations, 
which owed their birth to the beginning of the 
nineteenth century, and now stood in the pride 
of maturity. Perdita's humble dwelling was 
situated on the skirts of the most ancient por- 
tion ; before it was stretched Bishopgate Heath, 
which towards the east appeared interminable, 
and was bounded to the west by Chapel Wood 
and the grove of Virginia Water. Behind, the 
cottage was shadowed by the venerable fathers 
of the forest, under which the deer catne to 
graze, and which for the most part hollow and 
decayed, formed fantastic groups that contrasted 
wuth the regular beauty of the younger trees. 
These, the offspring of a later period, stood 
erect and seemed ready to advance fearlessly 
into coming time ; while those out worn strag- 
E 2 



76 THE LAST MAN. 

glers, blasted and broke, clung to each other, 
their weak boughs sighing as the wind buffetted 
them— a weather-beaten crew. 

A light railing surrounded the garden of the 
cottage, which, low-roofed, seemed to submit 
to the majesty of nature, and cower amidst the 
venerable remains of forgotten time. Flowers, 
the children of the spring, adorned her garden 
and easements ; in the midst of lowliness there 
was an air of elegance v/hich spoke the graceful 
taste of the inmate. With a beating heart I 
entered the enclosure; as I stood at the en- 
trance, I heard her voice, melodious as it had 
ever been, which before I saw her assured me 
of her welfare. 

A moment more and Perdita appeared ; she 
stood before me in the fresh bloom of youthful 
womanhood, different from and yet the same as 
the mountain girl I had left. Her eyes could 
not be deeper than they were in childhood, nor 
her countenance more expressive ; but the ex- 
pression was changed and improved; intelli- 



THE LAST MAN. 77 

gence sat on her brow ; when she smiled her 
face was embellished by the softest sensibiUty, 
and her low, modulated voice seemed tuned by 
love. Her person was formed in the most femi- 
nine proportions ; she was not tall, but her 
mountain life had given freedom to her motions, 
so that her light step scarce made her foot-fall 
heard as she tript across the hall to meet me. 
When we had parted, I had clasped her to my 
bosom with unrestrained warmth ; we met again, 
and new feelings were awakened ; when each 
beheld the other, childhood passed, as full grown 
actors on this changeful scene. The pause was 
but for a moment ; the flood of association and 
natural feeling which had been checked, again 
rushed in full tide upon our hearts, and with 
tenderest emotion we were swiftly locked in 
each other's embrace. 

This burst of passionate feeling over, with 
iialmed thoughts we sat together, talking of the 
past and present. I alluded to the coldness of 
h^Y letters ; but the few minutes we had spent 



78 THE LAST MAN. 

together sufficiently explained the origin of this. 
New feelings had arisen within her, which she 
was unable to express in writing to one whom she 
had only known in childhood ; but we saw each 
other again, and our intimacy was renewed as 
if nothing had intervened to check it. I de- 
tailed the incidents of my sojourn abroad, and 
then questioned her as to the changes that had 
taken place at home, the causes of Adrian's 
absence, and her secluded life. 

The tears that suffused my sister's eyes when 
I mentioned our friend, and her heightened 
colour seemed to vouch for the truth of the 
reports that had reached me. But their import 
was too terrible for me to give instant credit to 
my suspicion. Was there indeed anarchy in 
the sublime universe of Adi'ian's thoughts, did 
madness scatter the well-appointed legions, and 
was he no longer the lord of his own soul ? Be- 
loved friend, this ill world was no clime for 
your gentle spirit ; you delivered up its go- 
vernance to false humanity^ which stript it of 



THE LAST MAN. 79 

its leaves ere winter-time, and laid bare its qui- 
vering life to the evil ministration of roughest 
winds. Have those gentle eyes, those " chan- 
nels of the soul" lost their meaning, or do they 
only in their glare disclose the horrible tale of 
its aberrations? Does that voice no longer 
" discourse excellent music ?"" Horrible, most 
horrible ! I veil my eyes in terror of the change, 
and gushing tears bear witness to my sympathy 
for this unimaginable ruin. 

In obedience to my request Perdita detailed 
the melancholy circumstances that led to this 
event. 

The frank and unsuspicious mind of Adrian, 
gifted as it was by every natural grace, endowed 
with transcendant powers of intellect, unblem- 
ished by the shadow of defect (unless his dread- 
less independence of thought was to be construed 
into one), was devoted, even as a victim to sa- 
crifice, to his love for Evadne. He entrusted to 
her keeping the treasures of his soul, his aspira- 
tions after excellence, and his plans for the im- 



80 THE LAST MAN. 

provement of mankind. As manhood dawned 
upon him, his schemes and theories, far from 
being changed by personal and prudential mo- 
tives, acquired new strength from the powers 
he felt arise within him ; and his love for 
Evadne became deep-rooted, as he each day be- 
came more certain that the path he pursued was 
full of difficulty, and that he must seek his re- 
ward, not in the applause or gratitude of his 
fellow creatures, hardly in the success of his 
plans, but in the approbation of his own heart, 
and in her love and sympathy, which was to 
lighten every toil and recompence every sa- 
crifice. 

In sohtude, and through many wanderings 
afar from the haunts of men, he matured his 
views for the reform of the Enghsh government,, 
and the improvement of the people. It would 
have been well if he had concealed his senti- 
ments, until he had come into possession of the 
power which would secure their practical de- 
velopment. But he was impatient of the 



THE LAST MAN. 81 

3'ears that must intervene, he was frank of 
heart and fearless. He gave not only a brief 
denial to his mother's schemes, but published 
his intention of using his influence to diminish 
the power of the aristocracy, to effect a greater 
equalization of wealth and privilege, and to 
introduce a perfect system of republican govern- 
ment into England. At first his mother treated 
his theories as the wild ravings of inexperience. 
But they were so systematically arranged, and 
his arguments so well supported, that though 
still in appearance incredulous, she began to 
fear him. She tried to reason with him, and 
finding him inflexible, learned to hate him. 

Strange to say, this feeling was infectious. 
His enthusiasm for good v/hich did not exist ; 
his contempt for the sacredness of authority ; 
his ardour and imprudence were all at the an- 
tipodes of the usual routine of life ; the worldly 
feared him ; the young and inexperienced did 
not understand the lofty severity of his moral 
views, and disliked him as a being different 
E 3 



82 THE LAST UA^. 

from themselves. Evadne entered but coldly 
into his systems. She thought he did well to 
assert his own will, but she wished that will to 
have been more intelligible to the multitude. 
She had none of the spirit of a martyr, and did 
not incline to share the shame and defeat of a 
fallen patriot. She was aware of the purity of 
his motives, the generosity of his disposition, 
his true and ardent attachment to her ; and she 
entertained a great affection for him. He re- 
paid this spirit of kindness with the fondest gra- 
titude, and made her the treasure-house of all 
his hopes. 

At this time Lord Raymond returned from 
Greece. No two persons could be more oppo- 
site than Adrian and he. With all the incon- 
gruities of his character, Raymond was em- 
phatically a man of the world. His passions 
were violent ; as these often obtained the mas- 
tery over him, he could not always square his 
conduct to the obvious hne of self-interest, but 
self-gratification at least was the paramount ob- 



THE LAST MAN. 



ject with him. He looked on the structure of 
society as but a part of the machinery which 
supported the web on which his hfe was traced. 
The earth was spread out as an highway for 
him ; the heavens built up as a canopy for him. 

Adi-ian felt that he made a part of a great 
whole. He owned affinity not only with man- 
kind, but all nature was akin to him; the 
mountains and sky were his friends ; the winds 
of heaven and the offsprmg of earth his play- 
mates ; while he the focus only of this mighty 
mirror, felt his life mingle with the universe of 
existence. His soul was sympathy, and dedi- 
cated to the worship of beauty and excellence. 
Adrian and Raymond now came into contact, 
and a spirit of aversion rose between them. 
Adrian despised the narrow views of the poli- 
tician, and Raymond held in supreme contempt 
the benevolent visions of the philanthropist. 

With the coming of Raymond was formed 
the storm that laid waste at one fell blow the 
gardens of dehght and sheltered paths which 



84 THE LAST MAN. 

Adrian fancied that he had secured to himself, 
as a refuge from defeat and contumely. Ray- 
mond, the dehverer of Greece, the graceful 
soldier, who bore in his mien a tinge of all that, 
peculiar to her native clime, Evadne cherished 
as most dear — Raymond was loved by Evadne. 
Overpowered by her new sensations, she did 
not pause to examine them, or to regulate her 
conduct by any sentiments except the tyrannical 
one which suddenly usurped the empire of her 
heart. She yielded to its influence, and the too 
natural consequence in a mind unatluned to 
soft emotions was, that the attentions of Adrian 
became distasteful to her. She grew capricious ; 
her gentle conduct towards him was exchanged 
for asperity and repulsive coldness. When she 
perceived the wild or pathetic appeal of his ex- 
pressive countenance, she would relent, and for 
a while resume her ancient kindness. But these 
fluctuations shook to its depths the soul of the 
sensitive youth ; he no longer deemed the world 
subject to him, because he possessed Evadne' s 



THE LAST MAN. 85 

love ; he felt in every nerve that the dire storms 
of the mental universe were about to attack his 
fragile being, which quivered at the expecta- 
tion of its advent. 

Perdita, who then resided with Evadne, saw 
the torture that Adrian endured. She loved him 
as a kind elder brother ; a relation to guide, 
protect, and instruct her, without the too fre- 
quent tyranny of parental authority. She 
adored his virtues, and with mixed contempt 
and indignation she saw Evadne pile drear sor- 
row on his head, for the sake of one who hardly 
marked her. In his solitary despair Adrian would 
often seek my sister, and in covered terms ex- 
press his misery, while fortitude and agony 
divided the throne of his mind. Soon, alas ! was 
one to conquer. Anger made no part of his 
emotion. AVith whom should he be angry? 
Not with Raymond, who was unconscious of 
the misery he occasioned ; not with Evadne, 
for her his soul wept tears of blood— poor, mis- 
taken girl, slave not tyrant was she, and amidst 



86 THE LAST MAN. 

his own anguish he grieved for her future des- 
tiny. Once a writing of his fell into Perdita's 
hands ; it was blotted with tears — well might 
any blot it with the like — 

" Life" — it began thus — " is not the thing 
romance writers describe it ; going through the 
measures of a dance, and after various evolu- 
tions arriving at a conclusion, when the dancers 
may sit down and repose. While there is life 
there is action and change. We go on, each 
thought hnked to the one which was its parent, 
each act to a previous act. No joy or sorrow 
dies barren of progeny, which for ever generated 
and generating, weaves the chain that make our 
life: 

Un dia llama a otio dia 
y ass i llama, y encadena 
llanto a Uanto, y pena a pena. 

Truly disappointment is the guardian deity of 
human hfe ; she sits at the threshold of unborn 
time, and marshals the events as they come 
forth. Once my heart sat lightly in my bosom ; 



THE LAST MAN. 87 

all the beauty of the world was doubly beautiful, 
irradiated by the sun-light shed from my own 
soul. O wherefore are love and ruin for ever 
joined in this our mortal dream ? So that when 
we make our hearts a lair for that gently seem- 
ing beast, its companion enters with it, and 
pitilessly lays waste what might have been an 
home and a shelter."" 

By degrees his health was shaken by his 
misery, and then his intellect yielded to the 
same tyranny. His manners grew wild ; he 
was sometimes ferocious, sometimes absorbed in 
speechless melancholy. Suddenly Evadne quitted 
London for Paris ; he followed, and overtook her 
when the vessel was about to sail ; none knew 
what passed between them, but Perdita had 
never seen him since ; he lived in seclusion, 
no one knew where, attended by such persons 
as his mother selected for that purpose. 



88 THE LAST MAN. 



CHArTER IV. 



The next day Lord Raymond called at Per- 
dita's cottage, on his way to Windsor Castle. 
My sister's heightened colour and sparkling eyes 
half revealed her secret to me. He was perfectly 
self-possessed; he accosted us both with cour- 
tesy, seemed immediately to enter into our 
feelings, and to make one with us. I scanned his 
physiognomy, which varied as he spoke, yet 
was beautiful in every change. The usual ex- 
pression of his eyes was soft, though at times 
he could make them even glare with ferocity ; 
his complexion was colourless ; and every trait 
spoke predominate self-will; his smile was 
pleasing, though disdain too often curled his 



THF LAST MAN. 89 

lips— lips which to female eyes were the very 
throne of beauty and love. His voice, usually 
gentle, often startled you by a sharp discordant 
note, which shewed that his usual low tone was 
rather the work of study than nature. Thus 
full of contradictions, unbending yet haughty, 
gentle yet fierce, tender and again neglectful, he 
by some strange art found easy entrance to the 
admiration and affection of women; now ca- 
ressing and now tyrannizing over them accord- 
ing to his mood, but in every change a despot. 

At the present time Raymond evidently 
wished to appear amiable. Wit, hilarity, and 
deep observation were mingled in his talk, ren- 
dering every sentence that he uttered as a flash 
of light. He soon conquered my latent distaste ; 
I endeavoured to watch him and Perdita, and 
to keep in mind every thing I had heard to his 
disadvantage. But all appeared so ingenuous, 
and all was so fascinating, that I forgot every- 
thing except the pleasure his society afforded 
jpe. Under the ide^i of initiating me in the 



90 THE LAST MAN. 

scene of English politics and society, of which I 
was soon to become a part, he narrated a num- 
ber of anecdotes, and sketched many characters ; 
his discourse, rich and varied, flowed on, per- 
vading all my senses with pleasure. But for 
one thing he would have been completely tri- 
umphant. He alluded to Adrian, and spoke of 
him with that disparagement that the worldly 
wise always attach to enthusiasm. He perceived 
the cloud gathering, and tried to dissipate it ; 
but the strength of my feelings would not per- 
mit me to pass thus lightly over this sacred 
subject ; so I said emphatically, " Permit me 
to remark, that I am devotedly attached to the 
Earl of Windsor ; he is my best friend and be- 
nefactor. I reverence his goodness, I accord 
with his opinions, and bitterly lament his pre- 
sent, and I trust temporary, illness. That ill- 
ness, from its peculiarity, makes it painful to 
me beyond words to hear him mentioned, unless 
in terms of respect and affection." 

Raymond replied ; but there was nothing 



THE LAST MAN. 91 

conciliatory in bis reply. I saw that in his 
heart he despised those dedicated to any but 
worldly idols. " Everyman," he said, " dreams 
about something, love, honour, and pleasure ; 
you dream of friendship, and devote your- 
self to a maniac ; well, if that be your voca- 
tion, doubtless you are in the right to follow 
it."— 

Some reflection seemed to sting him, and the 
spasm of pain that for a moment convulsed his 
countenance, checked my indignation. " Hap- 
py are dreamers,**' he continued, " so that they 
be not awakened ! Would I could di'eam ! but 
' broad and garish day' is the element in which 
I hve ; the dazzling glare of reality inverts the 
scene for me. Even the ghost of friendship has 

departed, and love" He broke off ; nor could 

I guess whether the disdain that curled his lip 
was directed against the passion, or against him- 
self for being its slave. 

This account may be taken as a sample of 



92 THE LAST MAN. 

my intercourse with Lord Raymond. I became 
intimate with him, and each day afforded me 
occasion to admire more and more his powerful 
and versatile talents, that together with his 
eloquence, which was graceful and witty, and 
his wealth now immense, caused him to be 
feared, loved, and hated beyond any other man 
in England. 

My descent, which claimed interest, if not 
respect, my former connection with Adrian, 
the favour of the ambassador, whose secretary 
I had been, and now my intimacy with Lord 
Raymond, gave me easy access to the fashion- 
able and pohtical circles of England. To my 
inexperience we at first appeared on the eve of 
a civil war ; each party was violent, acrimoni- 
ous, and unyielding. Parliament was divided 
by three factions, aristocrats, democrats, and 
royalists. After Adrian's declared^ predeliction 
to the republican form of government, the latter 
party had nearly died away, chiefless, guide-. 



THE LAST MAX. 93 

less ; but, when Lord Raymond came forward 
as its leader, it revived with redoubled force. 
Some were royalists from prejudice and ancient 
affection, and there were many moderately in- 
clined who feared alike the capricious tyranny 
of the popular party, and the unbending des- 
potism of the aristocrats. More than a third of 
the members ranged themselves under Ray- 
mond, and their number was perpetually en- 
creasing. The aristocrats built their hopes on 
their preponderant wealth and influence ; the 
reformers on the force of the nation itself; the 
debates were violent, more violent the discourses 
held by each knot of politicians as they assem- 
bled to arrange their measures. Opprobrious 
epithets were bandied about, resistance even to 
the death threatened ; meetings of the populace 
disturbed the quiet order of the country ; ex- 
cept in war, how could all this end ? Even as 
the destructive flames were ready to break 
forth, I saw them shrink back ; allayed by the ab- 
sence of the military, by the aversion entertained 



94 THE LAST MAN. 

by every one to any violence, save that of 
speech^ and by the cordial politeness and even 
friendship of the hostile leaders when they met 
in private society. I was from a thousand mo- 
tives induced to attend minutely to the course 
of events, and watch each turn with intense 
anxiety. 

I could not but perceive that Perdita loved 
Raymond ; methought also that he regarded 
the fair daughter of Verney with admiration 
and tenderness. Yet I knew that he was urg- 
ing forward his marriage with the presumptive 
heiress of the Earldom of Windsor, \\ith keen 
expectation of the advantages that would thence 
accrue to him. All the ex-queen's friends were 
his friends; no week passed that he did not 
hold consultations with her at Windsor. 

I had never seen the sister of Adrian. I had 
heard that she was lovely, amiable, and fasci- 
nating. Wherefore should I see her ? There 
are times when we have an indefinable senti- 
ment of impending change for better or for 



THE LAST MAK. 95 

worse, to arise from an event ; and, be it for 
better or for worse, we fear the change, and shun 
the event. For this reason I avoided this high- 
born damsel. To me she was everything and 
nothing ; her very name mentioned by another 
made me start and tremble ; the endless discus- 
sion concerning her union with Lord Raymond 
was real agony to me. Methought that, Adrian 
withdrawn from active life, and this beauteous 
Idris, a victim probably to her mother's ambiti- 
ous schemes, I ought to come forward to protect 
her from undue influence, guard her from un- 
happiness, and secure to her freedom of choice, 
the right of every human being. Yet how 
was I to do this ? She herself would dis- 
dain my interference. Since then I must be 
an object of indifference or contempt ro 
her, better, far better avoid her, nor expose 
myself before her and the scornful world to the 
chance of playing the mad game of a fond, fool- 
ish Icarus. 



96 THE LAST MAN. 

One day, several months after my return to 
England, I quitted London to visit my sister. 
Her society was my chief solace and delight ; 
and my spirits always rose at the expectation of 
seeing her. Her conversation was full of pointed 
remark and discernment ; in her pleasant al- 
cove, redolent with sweetest flowers, adorned 
by magnificent casts, antique vases, and copies 
of the finest pictures of Raphael, Correggio, 
and Claude, painted by herself, I fancied myself 
in a fairy retreat untainted by and inaccessible 
to the noisy contentions of politicians and the 
frivolous pursuits of fashion. On this occa- 
sion, my sister was not alone ; nor could 
I fail to recognise her companion : it was 
Idris, the till now unseen object of my mad 
idolatry. 

In what fitting terms of wonder and delight, 
in what choice expression and soft flow of lan- 
guage, can I usher in the loveliest, wisest, best? 
How in poor assemblage of words convey the 



TJIE LAST MAN. 97 

halo of glory that surrounded her, the thousand 
graces that waited unwearied on her. The first 
thing that struck you on beholding that charm- 
ing countenance was its perfect goodness and 
frankness; candour sat upon her brow, sim- 
plicity in her eyes, heavenly benignity in her 
smile. Her tall slim figure bent gracefully as 
a poplar to the breezy west, and her gait, god- 
dess-like, was as that of a winged angel new alit 
from heaven's high floor ; the pearly fairness of 
her complexion was stained by a pure suffusion ; 
her voice resembled the low, subdued tenor of a 
flute. It is easiest perhaps to describe by con- 
trast. I have detailed the perfections of my 
sister; and yet she was utterly unlike Idris. 
Perdita, even where she loved, was reserved and 
timid ; Idris was frank and confiding. The one 
recoiled to solitude, that she might there en- 
trench herself from disappointment and injury; 
the other walked forth in open day, believing 
that none would harm her. Wordsworth lias 
compared a beloved female to two fair objects 

VOL. I. F 



98 THE LAST MAN. 

in nature ; but his lines always appeared to me 
rather a contrast than a similitude : 

A violet by a mossy stone 

Half hidden from the eye. 
Fair as a star ■^hea only one 

Is shining in ihe sky. 

Such a violet was sweet Perdita, trembhng to 
entrust herself to the very air, cowering from 
observation, yet betrayed by her excellences; 
and repaying v.ith a thousand graces the labour 
of those who sought her in her lonely bye-path. 
Idris was as the star, set in single splendour in 
the dim anadem of balmy evening ; ready to 
enhghten and delight the subject world, shielded 
herself from every taint by her unimagined dis- 
tance from all that was not like herself akin to 
heaven. 

I found this vision of beauty in Perdita* s al- 
cove, in earnest conversation with its inmate. 
When my sister saw me, she rose, and taking 
my hand, said, " He is here, even at our wish ; 
this is Lionel, my brother." 



THE LAST MAX. 99 

Idris arose also, and bent on me her eyes of 
celestial blue, and with grace peculiar said — 
" You hardly need an introduction ; we have a 
picture, highly valued by my father, which de- 
clares at once your name. Verney, you will 
acknowledge this tie, and as my brother's friend, 
I feel that I may trust you." 

Then, with lids humid wiih a tear and trem- 
bling voice, she continued — " Dear friends, do 
not tiiink it strange that now, visiting vou for 
the first time, I ask your a3?istance, and confide 
my wlsliGs and fears to you. To you alone do I 
dare speak ; I have heard you commended by 
impartial spectators ; you are my brother's 
friends, therefore you must be mine. What 
can I say ? if you refuse to aid me, I am lost 
indeed !'' She cast up her eyes, while wonder 
held her auditors mute ; then, as if carried 
away by her feelings, she cried — " ]My brother ! 
beloved, ill-fated Adrian ! how speak of your 
misfortunes ? Doubtless you have both heard 
the current tale ; perhaps believe the slander ; 
F 2 



100 THE LAST MA7<:. 

but he is not mad ! Were an angel from the 
foot of God's throne to assert it, never, never 
would I believe it. He is wronged, betrayed, 

imprisoned save him ! Verney, you must do 

this ; seek him out in whatever part of the island 
he is immured; find him, rescue him from his 
persecutors, restore him to himself, to me — on 
the wide earth I have none to love but only him !" 
Her earnest appeal, so sweetly and passionately 
expressed, filled me with wonder and sympa- 
thy ; and, when she added, with thrilling voice 
and look, " Do you consent to undertake this 
enterprize ?'' I vowed, with energy and truth, 
to devote myself in life and death to the resto- 
ration and welfare of Adrian. We then con- 
versed on the plan I should pursue, and dis- 
cussed the probable means of discovering his 
residence. While we were in earnest discourse, 
Lord Raymond entered unannounced : I saw 
Perdita tremble and grow deadly pale, and the 
cheeks of Idris glow with purest blushes. He 
must have been astonished at our conclave, dis- 



THK LAST MAN. 101 

turbed by it I should have thought ; but nothing 
of this appeared ; he saluted my companions, and 
addressed me ^vith a cordial greeting. Idris 
appeared suspended for a moment, and then with 
extreme sweetness, she said, " Lord Raymond, 
I confide in your goodness and honour." 

Smiling haughtily, he bent his head, and re- 
plied, with emphasis, " Do you indeed confide, 
Lady Idris .^" 

She endeavoured to read his thought, and 
then answered with dignity, " As you please. 
It is certainly best not to compromise oneself by 
any concealment."" 

" Pardon me," he replied, " if I have of- 
fended. Whether you trust me or not, rely on 
my doing my utmost to further your wishes, 
whatever they may be." 

Idris smiled her thanks, and rose to take 
leave. Lord Raymond requested permission to 
accompany her to ^A'indsor Castle, to which she 
consented, and they quitted the cottage together- 
My sister and I were left — truly like two fools, 



102 THE LAST MAN. 

who fancied that they had obtained a golden 
treasure, till daylight shewed it to be lead — two 
silly, luckless flies, who had played in sunbeams 
and were caught in a spider's web. I leaned 
against the casement, and watched those two 
glorious creatures, till they disappeared in the 
forest-glades ; and then I turned. Perdita had 
not moved ; her eyes fixed on the ground, her 
cheeks pale, her very lips white, motionless and 
rigid, every feature stamped by woe, she sat. 
Half frightened, I would have taken her hand ; 
but she shudderingly withdrew it, and strove to 
collect herself. I entreated her to speak to me : 
" Not now," she replied, " nor do you speak to 
me, my dear Lionel ; you can say nothing, for 
you know nothing. I will see you to-morrow ; 
in the meantime, adieu ! ' She rose, and walked 
from the room ; but pausing at the door, and 
leaning against it, as if her over-busy thoughts 
had taken from her the power of supporting 
herself, she said, " Lord Raymond will proba- 
bly return. Will you tell him that he must 



THE LAST MAX. 103 

excuse me to-day, for I am not well. I will 
see him to-morrow if he wishes it, and you also. 
You had better return to London with liim ; 
you can there make the enquiries agreed upon, 
concerning the Earl of Windsor and visit me 
again to-morrow, before you proceed on your 
journey — till then, farewell !" 

She spoke falteringly, and concluded with a 
heavy sigh. I gave my assent to her request ; 
and she left me. I felt as if, from the order of 
the systematic world, I had plunged into chaos, 
obscure, contrary, unintelligible. That Ray- 
mond should marry Idris was more than ever 
intolerable ; yet my passion, though a giant 
from its birth, was too strange, wild, and 
impracticable, for me to feel at once the misery 
I perceived in Perdita. How should I act.'^ 
She had not confided in me ; I could not de- 
mand an explanation from Raymond without the 
hazard of betraying what was perhaps her most 
treasured secret. I would obtain the truth from 
iier the following day — in the mean time — 



104 THE LAST MAN. 

But, while I was occupied by multiplying re- 
flections, Lord Raymond returned. He asked 
for my sister; and I delivered her message. 
After musing on it for a moment, he asked me 
if I were about to return to London, and if I 
would accompany him : I consented. He was 
full of thought, and remained silent during a 
considerable part of our ride ; at length he said, 
" I must apologize to you for my abstraction ; 
the truth is, Ry land's motion comes on to- 
night, and I am considering my reply." 

Ryland was the leader of the popular party, 
a hard-headed man, and in hi& way eloquent ; 
he had obtained leave to bring in a bill making 
it treason to endeavour to change the present 
state of the English government and the stand- 
ing laws of the republic. This attack was di- 
rected against Raymond and his machinations 
for the restoration of the monarchy. 

Raymond asked me if I would accompany 
him to the House that evening. 1 remembered 
my pursuit for intelligence concerning Adrian ; 



THE LAST MAN. 105 

and, knowing that my time would be fully oc- 
cupied, I excused myself. " Nay," said my 
companion, " I can free you from your present 
impediment. You are going to make enquiries 
concerning the Earl of Windsor. I can answer 
them at once, he is at the Duke of Athol's seat 
at Dunkeld. On the first approach of his dis- 
order, he travelled about from one place to 
another ; until, arriving at that romantic seclu- 
sion he refused to quit it, and we made ar- 
rano^ements with the Duke for his continuinor 
there." 

I was hurt by the careless tone with which he 
conveyed this information, and replied coldly : 
" I am obliged to you for your intelligence, and 
will avail myself of it.'' 

" You shall, Verney," said he, " and if you 
continue of the same mind, I will facilitate your 
views. But first witness, I beseech you, the 
result of this night's contest, and the triumph 
I a:n about to achieve, if I may so call it, while 
I fear that victory is to me defeat. "What can 
F 3 



106' THE Lx\ST MAN. 

I do ? My dearest hopes appear to be near their 
fulfilment. The ex-queen gives me Idris ; 
Adrian is totally unfitted to succeed to the earl- 
dom, and that earldom in my hands becomes a 
kingdom. By the reigning God it is true ; the 
paltry earldom of Windsor shall no longer con- 
tent him, who will inherit the rights which must 
for ever appertain to the person who possesses it. 
The Countess can never forget that she has 
been a queen, and she disdains to leave a di- 
minished inheritance to her children ; her power 
and my wit will rebuild the throne, and this 
brow will be clasped by a kingly diadem. — I can 
do this — I can marry Idris." 

He stopped abruptly, his countenance dark- 
ened, and its expression changed again and 
again under the influence of internal passion. 
1 asked, " Does Lady Idris love you ?'' 

" What a question," replied he laughing. 
'' She will of course, as I shall her, when we 
are married." 

" You begin late," said I, ironically, '*' mar- 



THF LAST MAN. 107 

iage is usually considered the grave, and not 
the cradle of love. So you are about to love 
her, but do not already .?" 

" Do not catechise me, Lionel ; I will do my 
duty by her, be assured. Love I I must steel 
my heart against that ; expel it from its tower 
of strength, barricade it out : the fountain of 
love must cease to play, its waters be dried up, 
and all passionate thoughts attendant on it die — 
that is to say, the love which would rule me, not 
that which I rule. Idris is a gentle, pretty, sweet 
little girl ; it is impossible not to have an affec- 
tion for her, and I have a very sincere one ; 
only do not speak of love — love, the tyrant and 
the tyrant-queller ; love, until now my con- 
queror, now my slave ; the hungry fire, the 

untameable beast, the fanged snake no — 

no — -I will have nothing to do with that love. 
Tell me, Lionel, do you consent that I should 
marry this young lady ?" 

He bent his keen eyes upon me, and my un- 
controllable heart swelled in my bosom. I re- 



108 THE LAST MAN. 

plied in a calm voice — but how far from calm 
was the thought imaged by my still Avords — 
" Never ! I can never consent that Ladv Idris 
should be united to one vvho does not love her.'* 
" Because you love her yourself." 
" Your Lordship might have spared that 
taunt ; I do not, dare not love her." 

" At least," he continued haughtily, " she 
does not love you. I would not marry a 
reigning sovereign, were I not sure that her 
heart was free. But, O, Lionel ! a kingdom is 
a word of might, and gently sounding are the 
terms that compose the style of royalty. Were 
not the mightiest men of the olden times kings ? 
Alexander was a king ; Solomon, the wisest of 
men, w^as a king ; Napoleon was a king ; Caesar 
died in his attempt to become one, and Cromwell, 
the puritan and king-killer, aspired to regality. 
The father of Adrian yielded up the already 
broken sceptre of England ; but I will rear the 
fallen plant, join its dismembered frame, and 
exalt it above all the flowers of the field. 



The last MA^^ 109 

" You need not -svonder that I freely disco- 
ver Adrian's abode. Do not suppose that I am 
wicked or foohsh enough to found my purposed 
sovereignty on a fraud, and one so easily dis- 
covered as the truth or falsehood of the Earl's 
insanity. I am just come from him. Before 
I decided on my marriage with Idris, I resolved to 
see him myself again, and to judge of the proba^ 
bility of his recovery. — He is irrecoverably mad." 

I gasped for breath — 

" I will not detail to you,'' continued Ray- 
mond, " the melancholy particulars. You shall 
see him, and judge for yourself; although I fear 
this visit, useless to him, will be insufferably 
painful to you. It has weighed on my spirits 
ever since. Excellent and gentle as he is even 
in the downfall of his reason, I do not wor- 
ship him as you do, but I would give all my 
hopes of a crown and my right hand to boot, to 
see him restored to himself." 

His voice expressed the deepest compassion: 
*' Thou most unaccountable being," I cried, 



110 THE LAST MAK. 

" whither will thy actions tend, in all this maze 
of purpose in which thou seemest lost?" 

" Whither indeed ? To a crown, a golden be- 
gemmed crown, I hope ; and yet I dare not trust 
and though I dream of a crown and wake for 
one, ever and anon a busy devil whispers to me, 
that it is but a fool's cap that I seek, and that 
were I wise, I should trample on it, and take 
in its stead, that which is worth all the crowns 
of the east and presidentships of the west." 

" And what is that ?'' 

" If I do make it my choice, then you shall 
know ; at present I dare not speak, even think 
of it." 

Again he was silent, and after a pause turned 
to me laughingly. When scorn did not inspire 
his mirth, when it was genuine gaiety that 
painted his features with a joyous expression, 
his beauty became super-eminent, divine. 
" Verney," said he, " my first act when I be- 
come King of England, will be to unite with 
the Greeks, take Constantinople, and subdue 



THE LAST MAN. Ill 

all Asia. I intend to be a warrior, a conqueror ; 
Napoleon's name shall vail to mine ; and en- 
thusiasts, instead of visiting his rocky grave, 
and exalting the merits of the fallen, shall 
adore my majesty, and magnify my illustrious 
achievements." 

I listened to Raymond with intense interest. 
Could I be other than all ear, to one who seemed 
to govern the whole earth in his grasping ima- 
gination, and v.ho only quailed when he at- 
tempted to rule himself. Then on his word 
and will depended my own happiness — the fate 
of all dear to me. I endeavoured to divine the 
concealed meaning of his words. Perdita's 
name was not mentioned ; yet I could not doubt 
that love for her caused the vacillation of pur- 
pose that he exhibited. And who was so 
worthy of love as my noble-minded sister .'* 
Who deserved the hand of this self-exalted 
king more than she whose glance belonged to a 
queen of nations ? who loved him, as he did her ; 



112 THE LAST MAN. 

notwithstanding that disappointment quelled her 
passion, and ambition held strong combat with 
his. 

We went together to the House in the even- 
ing Raymond, while he knew that his plans 
and prospects were to be discussed and decided 
during the expected debate, was gay and care- 
less. An hum, like that of ten thousand hives 
of swarming bees, stunned us as we entered the 
coffee-room. Knots of politicians were assem- 
bled with anxious brows and loud or deep 
voices. The aristocratical party, the richest and 
most influential men in England, appeared less 
agitated than the others, for the question was 
to be discussed without their interference. 
Near the fire was Ryland and his supporters. 
Ryland was a man of obscure birth and of im- 
mense wealth, inherited from his father, who 
had been a manufacturer. He had witnessed, 
when a young man, the abdication of the king, 
and the amalgamation of the two houses of 



THE LAST MAN. US 

Lords and Commons; he had sympathized 
with these popular encroachments, and it had 
been the business of his life to consolidate and 
encrease them. Since then, the influence of the 
landed proprietors had augmented ; and at first 
Ryland was not sorry to observe the machina- 
tions of Lord Raymond, which drew off many 
of his opponent's partizans. But the thing was 
now going too far. The poorer nobility hailed 
the return of sovereignty, as an event which 
would restore them to their power and rights, 
now lost. The half extinct spirit of royalty 
roused itself in the minds of men ; and they, 
willing slaves, self-constituted subjects, were 
ready to bend their necks to the yoke. Some 
erect and manly spirits still remained, pillars 
of state ; but the word republic had grown stale 
to the vulgar ear; and many— the event would 
prove whether it was a majority — pined for the 
tinsel and show of royalty. Ryland was roused 
to resistance; he asserted that his sufferance 



]J4 THE LAST MAN. 

alone had permitted the encrease of this party ; 
but the time for indulgence was passed, and 
with one motion of his arm he would sweep 
away the cobwebs that blinded his countrymen. 
When Raymond entered the coiFee-room, his 
presence was hailed by his friends almost with a 
shout. They gathered round him, counted 
their numbers, and detailed the reasons why 
they were now to receive an addition of such 
and such members, who had not yet declared 
themselves. Some trifling business of the House 
having been gone through, the leaders took 
their seats in the chamber; the clamour of 
voices continued, till Ryland arose to speak, and 
then the slightest whispered observation was 
audible. All eyes were fixed upon him as he 
stood — ponderous of frame, sonorous of voice, 
and with a manner which, though not graceful, 
was impressive. I turned from his marked, iron 
countenance to Raymond, whose face, veiled by 
a smile, would not betray his care ; yet his lips 



THE LAST MAN. 115 

quivered somewhat, and his liand clasped the 
bench on which he sat, with a convulsive 
strength that made the muscles start again. 

Ryland began by praising the present state 
of the British empire. He recalled past years 
to their memory ; the miserable contentions 
which in the time of our fathers arose almost to 
civil war, the abdication of the late king, and 
the foundation of the republic. He described 
this republic ; shewed how it gave privilege to 
each individual in the state, to rise to conse- 
quence, and even to temporary sovereignty. 
He compared the royal and republican spirit ; 
shewed how the one tended to enslave the minds 
of men ; while all the institutions of the other 
served to raise even the meanest among us to 
something great and good. He shewed how 
England had become poAverful, and its inhabi- 
tants valiant and wise, by means of the freedom 
they enjoyed. As he spoke, every heart swelled 
with pride, and every cheek glowed with delight 
to remember, that each one there was Enghsh, 



116 THE LAST MA-Nf. 

and that each supported and contributed to the 
happy state of things now commemorated. 
Ryland's fervour increased — his eyes Hghted 
up — his voice assumed the tone of passion. 
There was one man, he continued^ who wished 
to alter all this, and bring us back to our days 
of impotence and contention: — one man, who 
would dare arrogate the Iionour which was due 
to all who claimed England as their birthplace, 
and set his name and style above the name and 
style of his country. I saw at this juncture 
that Raymond changed colour ; his eyes were 
withdrawn from the orator, and cast on the 
ground; the listeners turned from one to the 
other ; but in the meantime the speaker's voice 
filled their ears — the thunder of his denuncia- 
tions influenced their senses. The very bold- 
ness of his language gave him weight ; each 
knew that he spoke truth — a truth known, but 
not acknowledged. He tore from reaHty the 
mask with v\ hich she had been clothed ; and 
the purposes of Raymond, Avhich before had 



THE LAST MAN. 117 

crept around, ensnaring by stealth, now stood 
a hunted stag — even at bay— as all perceived 
who watched the irrepressible changes of his 
countenance. Ryland ended by moving, that 
any attempt to re-erect the kingly power should 
be declared treason, and he a traitor who should 
endeavour to change the present form of govern- 
ment. Cheers and loud acclamations followed 
the close of his speech. 

After his motion had been seconded, Lord 
Raymond rose, — his countenance bland, his 
voice softly melodious, his manner soothing, his 
grace and sweetness came like the mild breath- 
ing of a ilute, after the loud, organ-like voice of 
his adversary. He rose, he said, to speak in 
favour of the honourable member's motion, with 
cue slight amendment subjoined. He was ready 
to go back to old times, and commemorate the 
contests of our fathers, and the monarch's ab- 
dication. Nobly and greatly, he said, had the 
illustrious and last sovereign of England sacri- 
ficed himself to the apparent good of his coun- 



118 THE LAST MAN. 

try, and divested himself of a power which could 
only be maintained by the blood of his subjects 
— these subjects named so no more, these, his 
friends and equals, had in gratitude conferred 
certain favours and distinctions on him and his 
family for ever. An ample estate was allotted 
to them, and they took the first rank among the 
peers of Great Britain. Yet it might be con- 
jectured that they had not forgotten their an- 
cient heritaoje ; and it was hard that his heir 
slioiild suffer alike with any other pretender, if 
he attempted to regain what by ancient right 
and inheritance belonged to him. He did not 
say that he should favour such an attempt ; but 
he did say that such an attempt would be venial; 
and, if the aspirant did not go so far as to de- 
clare w^ar, and erect a standard in the kingdom, 
his fault ought to be regarded with an indulgent 
eye. In his amendment he proposed, that an 
exception should be made in the bill in favour 
of any person who claimed the sovereign power 
in rio'ht of the earls of Windsor. 



THE LAST MAN. 119 

Nor did Raymond make an end without 
drawino; in vivid and glowing colours, the splen- 
dour of a kingdom, in opposition to the com- 
mercial spirit of republicanism. He asserted, 
that each individual under the English mo- 
narchy, Avas then as now, capable of attaining 
high rank and power — with one only exception, 
that of the function of chief magistrate ; higher 
and nobler rank, than a bartering, timorous 
commonwealth could afford. And for this one 
exception, to what did it amount ? The nature 
of riches and influence forcibly confined the 
list of candidates to a few of the wealthiest ; and 
it was much to be feared, that the ill-humour 
and contention generated by this triennial 
struggle, would counterbalance its advantages 
in impartial eyes. I can ill record the flow of 
language and graceful turns of expression, the 
wit and easy raillery that gave vigour and in- 
fluence to his speech. His manner, timid at 
first, became firm — his chano^eful face was lit 



1£0 THE LAST MAN. 

up to superhuman brilliancy ; his voice, various 
as music, was like that enchanting. 

It were useless to record the debate that 
followed this harangue. Party speeches were 
delivered, which clothed the^question in cant, 
and veiled its simple meaning in a woven wind 
of words. The motion was lost ; Ryland with- 
drew in rage and despair ; and Raymond, gay 
and exulting, retired to dream of his future 
Kingdom, 



THE LAST MAN. 121 



CHAPTER IV. 



Is there such a feehng as love at first sight ? 
And if there be, in what does its nature differ 
from love founded ; in long observation and slow- 
growth ? Perhaps its effects are not so perma- 
nent ; but they are, while they last, as violent 
and intense. We walk the pathless mazes of 
society, vacant of joy, till we hold this clue, 
leading us through that labyrinth to paradise. 
Our nature dim, like to an unlighted torch, 
sleeps in formless blank till the fire attain it ; 
this life of life, this light to moon, and glory 
to the sun. What does it matter, whether the 

VOL. I. G 



12£ THE LAST MAN. 

fire be struck from flint and steel, nourished 
with care into a flame, slowly communicated to 
the dark wick, or whether swiftly the radiant 
power of hght and warmth passes from a kin- 
dred power, and shines at once the beacon and 
the hope. In the deepest fountain of my heart 
the pulses were stirred ; around, above, be- 
neath, the clinging Memory as a cloak enwrapt 
me. In no one moment of coming time did 
I feel as I had done in time gone by. The spirit 
of Idris hovered in the air I breathed ; her eyes 
were ever and for ever bent on mine ; her remem- 
bered smile blinded my faint gaze, and caused 
me to walk as one, not in eclipse, not in dark- 
ness and vacancy — but in a new and brilliant 
light, too novel, too dazzling for my human 
senses. On every leaf, on every small division 
of the universe, (as on the hyacinth a^ is eii- 
graved) was imprinted the talisman of my ex- 
istence — She lives ! She is ! — I had not tim« 
yet to analyze my feeling, to take myself to task, 



THE LAST MAX, 12 

^n{}i kasK in the tameless passion ; all was one 
idea, one feeling, one knowledge — it was my 
life! 

But the die was cast — Raymond would marry 
Idris. The merry marriage bells rung in my 
ears ; I heard the nation^s gratulation which fol- 
lowed the vniion ; the ambitious noble uprose 
with swift eagle-flight, from the lowly ground to 
regal supremacy — and to the love of Idris. Yet, 
not so ! She did not love him ; she had called 
me her friend ; she had smiled on me ; to me she 
had entrusted her hearf s dearest hope, the wel- 
fare of Adrian. This reflection thawed my 
congealing blood, and again the tide of life and 
iove flowed impetuously onward, again to ebb 
as my busy thoughts changed. 

The debate had ended at three in the morning. 
My soul was in tumults ; I traversed the streets 
\"v ith eager rapidity. Truly, I was mad that night 
— love — which I have named a giant from its 
birth, wrestled with despair ! My heart, the field 
of combat, was wounded by the iron heel of the 
g2 



1^4 THE LAST MAX. 

one, watered by the gushing tears of the other. 
Day, hateful to me, dawned ; I retreated to my 
lodgings — I threw myself on a couch — 1 slept — 
was it sleep ? — for thought was still alive — love 
and despair struggled still, and I writhed with 
vmendurable pain. 

I aw^oke half stupefied ; I felt a heavy op- 
pression on me, but knew not wherefore ; I en- 
tered, as it were, the council-chamber of my 
brain, and questioned the various ministers of 
thought therein assembled ; too soon I remem- 
bered all ; too soon my limbs quivered beneath 
the tormenting power ; soon, too soon, I knew 
myself a slave ! 

Suddenly, unannounced. Lord Raymond en- 
tered my apartment. He came in gaily, singing 
the Tyrolese song of liberty ; noticed me with 
a gracious nod, and threw himself on a sopha 
opposite the copy of a bust of the Apollo Bel- 
videre. After one or two trivial remarks, to 
which I sullenly replied, he suddenly cried, 
looking at the bust, " I am called like that 



THE LAST MAX. 125 

Tictor ! Not a bad idea ; the head will serve 
for my new coinage, and be an omen to all 
dutiful subjects of my future success.'' 

He said this in his most gay, yet benevolent 
manner, and smiled, not disdainfully, but in 
playful mockery of himself Then his coun- 
tenance suddenly darkened, and in that shrill 
tone pecuhar to himself, he cried, " I fought a 
good battle last night ; higher conquest the 
plains of Greece never saw me achieve. Now 
I am the first man in the state, burthen of every 
ballad, and object of old women's mumbled de- 
votions. What are your meditations ? You, 
who fancy that you can read the human soul, 
as your native lake reads each crevice and fold- 
ing of its surrounding hills — say what you think 
of me ; king-expectant, angel or devil, which ?" 

This ironical tone was discord to my burst- 
ing, over-boiling-heart; I was nettled by his 
insolence, and replied with bitterness ; " There 
is a spirit, neither angel or devil, damned to 
limbo merely. " I saw his cheeks become pale, 



136 THE LAST MAN, 

and his lips whiten and quiver ; bis anger 
served but to enkindle mine, and I answered 
with a determined look his eyes which glared 
on me; suddenly they were withdrawn, cast 
do\^Ti, a tear, I thought, wetted the dark 
lashes ; I was softened, and w^th involuntary- 
emotion added, " Not that you are such, my 
dear lord." 

I paused, e\en awed by the agitation he 
evinced ; '' Yes,'** he said at length, rising and 
biting his lip, as he strove to curb his passion ; 
^' Such am 1 ! You do not know me, Verney ; 
neither you, nor our audience of last night, nor 
does universal England know aught of me. I 
stand here, it would seem, an elected king ; this 
hand is about to grasp a sceptre ; these brows 
feel in each nerve the coming diadem. I ap- 
pear to have strength, power, victory ; standing 
as a dome-supporting column stands ; and I am 
— a reed ! I have ambition, and that attains 
its aim ; my nightly dreams are realized, my 
waking hopes fulfilled ; a kingdom awaits my 



THE LAST MAX. 127 

acceptance, my enemies are overthrown. But 
here,*" and he struck his heart with violence, 
" here is the rebel, here the stumbling-block ; 
this over-ruling heart, which I may drain of 
its living blood ; but, while one fluttering pulsa- 
tion remains, I am its slave."" 

He spoke with a broken voice, then bowed 
his head, and, hiding his face in his hands, 
wept I was still smarting from my own dis- 
appointment ; yet this scene oppressed me even 
to terror, nor could I interrupt his access of 
passion. It subsided at length ; and, throw ing 
himself on the couch, he remained silent and 
motionless, except that his changeful features 
shewed a strong internal conflict. At last he 
rose, and said in his usual tone of voice, " The 
time grows on us, Verney, I must away. Let 
me not forget my chiefest errand here. Will 
you accompany me to Windsor to-morrow ? 
You will not be dishonoured by my society, 
and as this is probably the last service, or dis- 



128 THE LAST MAN. 

service you can do me, will you grant my 
request ?'" 

He held out his hand with almost a bashful 
air. Swiftly I thought — Yes, I will witness 
the last scene of the drama. Beside which, 
his mien conquered me, and an affectionate sen- 
timent towards him, again filled my heart — I 
bade him command me. " Aye, that I will,"" 
said he gaily, " thafs my cue now ; be with me 
to-morrow morning by seven ; be secret and faith- 
ful ; and you shall be groom of the stole ere long." 

So saying^ he hastened away, vaulted on his 
horse, and with a gesture as if he gave me his 
hand to kiss, bade me another laughing adieu. 
Left to myself, I strove with painful intensity 
to divine the motive of his request, and foresee 
the events of the coming day. The hours passed 
on unperceived ; my head ached with thought^ 
the nerves seemed teeming with the over full 
fraught— I clasped my burning brow, as if my 
fevered hand could medicine its pain. 



THE LAST MAN. 129. 

I was punctual to the appointed hour on the 
following day, and found Lord Raymond wait- 
ing for me. We got into his carriage, and 
proceeded towards Windsor. I had tutored 
myself, and was resolved by no outward sign 
to disclose my internal agitation. 

" What a mistake Ryland made," said Ray- 
mond, " when he thought to overpow^er me the 
other night. He spoke well, very well ; such an 
harangue would have succeeded better addressed 
to me singly, than to the fools and knaves assem- 
bled yonder. Had I been alone, I should have lis- 
tened to him with a wish to hear reason, but 
when he endeavoured to vanquish me in my own 
territory, with my own weapons, he put me on 
my mettle, and the event was such as all might 
have expected." 

I smiled incredulously, and replied : ^'' I am 
of Ryland's way of thinking, and will, if you 
please, repeat all his arguments ; we shall see 
how far you will be induced by them, to change 
the royal for the patriotic style " 
G 3 



130 THE LAST MA7i, 

*' The repetition would be useless," said Ray- 
mond, " since I well remember them, and have 
many others, self-suggested, which speak with 
unanswerable persuasion.*^ 

He did not explain himself, nor did I make 
any remark on his reply. Our silence endured 
for some miles, till the country with open fields, 
or shady woods and parks, presented pleasant 
objects to our view. After some observations 
on the scenery and seats, Raymond said : " Phi- 
losophers have called man a microco&m of nature, 
and find a reflection in the internal mind foi* all 
this machinery visibly at work ai'ound us. This 
theory has often been a source of amusement to 
me ; and many an idle hour have I spent, exercis- 
ing my ingenuity in finding resemblances. Does 
not Lord Bacon say that, ' the falling from a 
discord to a concord, which maketh great sweet- 
ness in music, hath an agreement with the affec- 
tions, which are re-integrated to the better iifter 
some disHkes ?** What a sea is the tide of pas- 
sion, whose fountains are in our own nature! 



THE LAST MAN. 131 



Our virtues are the quick-sands, which shew 
themselves at cahii and low water ; but let the 
waves arise and the winds buffet them, and the 
poor devil whose hope was in their durability, 
finds them sink from under him. The fashions 
of the world, its exigencies, educations and pur- 
suits, are winds to drive our wills, like clouds 
all one way ; but let a thunderstorm arise in the 
shape of love, hate, or ambition, and the rack 
goes backward, stemming the opposing air in 
triumph.'" 

*' Yet,"" replied I, " nature always presents to 
our eyes the appearance of a patient: while 
there is an active principle in man which is 
capable of ruling fortune, and at least of tack- 
ing against the gale, till it in some mode con- 
quers it."" 

" There is more of what is specious than 
true in your distinction," said my compa- 
nion. " Did we form ourselves, choosing our 
dispositions, and our powers? I find myself, 
for one, as a stringed instrument with chords 



132 THE LAST MAX. 

and stops — but I have no power to turn the 
pegs, or pitch my thoughts to a higher or 
lower key." 

" Other men," I observed, " may be better 
musicians." 

" I talk not of others, but myself,"*' replied 
Raymond, " and I am as fair an example to go 
by as another. I cannot set my heart to a particu- 
lar tune, or run voluntary changes on my will. 
We are born ; we choose neither our parents, 
nor our stations ; we are educated by others, 
or by the world's circumstance, and this cultiva- 
tion, mingling with our innate disposition, is the 
soil in which our desires, passions, and motives 
grow." 

" There is much truth in what you say," 
said I, " and yet no man ever acts upon this 
theory. Who, when he makes a choice, says. 
Thus 1 choose, because I am necessitated ? Does 
he not on the contrary feel a freedom of will 
within him, which, though you may call it fal- 
lacious, still actuates him as he decides V" 



IHE LAST MAN. 183 

" Exactly so," replied Raymond, " anodier 
link of the breakless chain. AVere I now to 
commit an act which would annihilate my hopes, 
and pluck the regal garment from my mortal 
limbs, to clothe them in ordinary weeds, would 
this, think you, be an act of free-will on my 
part ?" 

As we talked thus, I perceived that we were 
not going the ordinary road to Windsor, but 
through Englefield Green, towards Bishopgate 
Heath. I be^an to divine that Idris was not 
the object of our journey, but that I was 
brought to witness the scene that was to decide 
the fate of Raymond — and of Perdita. Ray- 
mond had evidently vacillated during his jour- 
ney, and irresolution was marked in every ges- 
ture as we entered Perdita's cottage. I watched 
him curiously, determined that, if this hesitation 
should continue, I would assist Perdita to over- 
come herself, and teach her to disdain the waver- 
ing love of him, who balanced between the 
possession of a crown, and of her, whose excel- 



134 THE LAST MAN. 

ience and affection transcended the worth of a 
kingdom. 

We found her in her flower-adorned alcove ; 
she was reading the newspaper report of the 
debate in parhament, that apparently doomed 
her to hopelessness. That heart-sinking feel- 
ing was painted in her sunk eyes and spiritless 
attitude ; a cloud was on her beauty, and fre- 
quent sighs were tokens of her distress. This 
sight had an instantaneous effect on Raymond ; 
his eyes beamed with tenderness, and remorse 
clothed his manners with earnestness and truth. 
He sat beside her ; and, taking the paper from 
her hand, said, " Not a word more shall my 
sweet Perdita read of this contention of mad- 
men and fools. I must not permit you to be 
acquainted with the extent of my delusion, lest 
you despise me ; although, believe me, a Avish 
to appear before you, not vanquished, but as 
a conqueror; inspired me during my wordy 
war."" 

Perdita looked at him like one amazed ; her 



THE LAST MAX. 



135 



expressive countenance shone for a moment 
%vith tenderness ; to see him only was happiness. 
But a bitter tliought swiftly shadowed her 
jov ; she bent her eyes on the ground, en- 
deavouring to master the passion of tears that 
threatened to overwhelm her. Raymond con- 
tinued, " I will not act a part with you, dear 
girl, or appear other than what 1 am, weak and 
unworthy, more fit to excite your disdain than 
your love. Yet you do love me ; I feel and 
know that you do, and thence I draw my most 
cherished hopes. If pride guided you, or even 
reason, you might well reject me. Do so ; if 
your high heart, incapable of my infirmity of 
purpose, refuses to bend to the lowness of mine. 
Turn from me, if you will, — if you can. If your 
whole soul does not urge you to forgive me — 
if your entire heart does not open wide its door 
to admit me to its very centre, forsake me, 
never speak to me again. I, though sinning 
against you almost beyond remission, I also 



136 THE LAST MAK. 

am proud ; there must be no reserve in your 
pardon — no drawback to the gift of your affec- 
tion.'' 

Perdita looked down, confused, yet pleased. 
My presence embarrassed her ; so that she dared 
not turn to meet her lover's eye, or trust her 
voice to assure him of her affection ; while a 
blush mantled her cheek, and her disconsolate 
air was exchanged for one expressive of deep- 
felt joy. Raymond encircled her waist with his 
arm, and continued, " I do not deny that I have 
balanced between you and the highest hope tliat 
mortal man can entertain ; but I do so no longer. 
Take me — mould me to your will, possess my 
heart and «oul to all eternity. If you refuse tb 
contribute to my happiness, I quit England to- 
night, and will never set foot in it again. 

" Lionel, you hear : witness for me : persuade 
your sister to forgive the injury I have done 
her; persuade her to be mine." 

*' There needs no persuasion," said the blush- 



THE LAST MAN. l^fj^ 

ing Perdita, •' except your own dear promises, 
and my ready heart, which whispers to me that 
they are true." 

That same evening we all three walked to- 
gether in the forest, and, with the garrulity 
which happiness inspires, they detailed to me 
the history of their loves. It was pleasant to 
see the haughty Raymond and reserved Perdita 
changed through happy love into prattling, play- 
ful children, both losing their characteristic 
dignity in the fulness of mutual contentment. 
A night or two ago Lord Raymond, with a brow 
of care, and a heart oppressed with thought, bent 
all his energies to silence or persuade the legislators 
of England that a sceptre was not too weighty 
for his hand, while visions of dominion, war, 
and triumph floated before him ; now, frolicsome 
as a lively boy sporting under his mother's ap- 
proving eye, the hopes of his ambition were 
complete, when he pressed, the small fair hand of 
Perdita to his lips ; while she, radiant with de- 
light, looked on the still pool, not truly admiring 



138 THE LAST MAN. 

herself, but drinking in with rapture the reflection 
there made of the form of herself and her lover, 
shewn for the first time in dear conjunction. 

I rambled awaj from them. If the rapture 
of assured sympathy was theirs, I enjoyed that 
of restored hope. I looked on the regal towers 
of Windsor. High is the wall and strong the 
barrier that separate me from my St^r of 
Beauty. But not impassable. She will not be 
his. A few more years dwell in thy native gar- 
den, sweet flower, till I by toil and time acquire 
a right to gather thee. Despair not, nor bid 
me despair I What must I do now ? First I 
must seek Adrian, and restore him to her. 
Patience, gentleness, and untired affection, shall 
recal him, if it be true, as Raymond says, that 
he is mad ; energy and courage shall rescue 
him, if he be unjustly imprisoned. 

After the lovers again joined me, we supped 
togetlier in the alcove. Truly it was a fairy's 
supper; for though the air was perfumed by 
the scent of fruits and wine, we none of us 



THE LAST MAN. 139 

either ate or drank — even the beauty of the 
night was unobserved ; their extasy could not 
be increased by outward objects, and I was 
wrapt in reverie. At about midnight Raymond 
and I took leave of my sister, to return to town. 
He was all gaiety ; scraps of songs fell from his 
lips ; every thought of his mind — every object 
about us, gleamed under the sunshine of his 
mirth. He accused me of melancholy, of ill- 
humour and envy. 

" Not so," said I, " though I confess that 
my thoughts are not occupied as pleasantly as 
yours are. You promised to facilitate my visit 
to Adrian; I conjure you to perform your pro- 
mise. I cannot linger here ; I long to soothe — 
perhaps to cure the malady of my first and best 
friend. I shall immediately depart for Dunkeld." 
" Thou bird of night,"' replied Raymond, 
•' what an echpse do you throw across my bright 
thoughts, forcing me to call to mind that melan- 
choly ruin, which stands in mental desolation, 
more irreparable than a fragment of a can-ed 



140 THE LAST MAX. 

column in a weed-grown field. You dream that 
you can restore him? Daedalus never wound 
so inextricable an error round Minotaur, as 
madness has woven about his imprisoned rea- 
son. Nor you, nor any other Theseus, can 
thread the labyrinth, to which perhaps some 
unkind Ariadne has the clue." 

" You allude to Evadne Zaimi : but she is 
not in England." 

" And were she," said Raymond, " I would 
not advise her seeing him. Better to decay in 
absolute delirium, than to be the victim of the 
methodical unreason of ill-bestowed love. The 
long duration of his malady has probably erased 
from his mind all vestige of her; and it were 
well that it should never again be imprinted. 
You will find him at Dunkeld ; gentle and 
tractable he wanders up the hills, and through 
the wood, or sits listening beside the waterfall. 
You may see him — his hair stuck with wild 
flowers — his eyes full of untraceable meaning — 
his voice broken — his person wasted to a ^ha- 



THE LAST MAK. 141 

dow. He plucks flowers and weeds, and weaves 
chaplets of them, or sails yellow leaves and bits 
of bark on the stream, rejoicing in their safety, 
or weeping at their wreck. The very memory 
half unmans me. By Heaven ! the first tears I 
have shed since boyhood rushed scalding into 
my eyes when I saw him.*" 

It needed not this last account to spur me on 
to visit him. I only doubted whether or not I 
should endeavour to see Idris again, before I de- 
parted. This doubt was decided on the follow- 
ing day. Early in the morning Raymond came 
to me ; intelHgence had arrived that Adrian 
was dangerously ill, and it appeared impossible 
that his failing strength should surmount the 
disorder. " To-morrow," said Raymond, ^' his 
mother and sister set out for Scotland to see 
him once again." 

"And I go to-day," I cried; "this verv 
hour I will engage a sailing balloon ; I shall be 
there in forty-eight hours at furthest, perhaps 
in less, if the wind is fair. Farewell, Ray- 



14S THE LAST MAK. 

mond; be happy in having chosen the better 
part in Hfe. This turn of fortune revives me. 
I feared madness, not sickness — •! have a pre- 
sentiment that Adrian will not die ; perhaps 
this illness is a crisis, and he may recover.*" 

Everything favoured my journey. The bal- 
loon rose about half a mile from the earth, and 
with a favourable wind it hurried through the 
air, its feathered vans cleaving the unopposing 
atmosphere. Notwithstanding the melancholy 
object of my journey, my spirits were exhilarated 
by reviving hope, by the swift motion of the 
airy pinnace, and the balmy visitation of the 
sunny air. The pilot hardly moved the plumed 
steerage, and the slender mechanism of the 
wings, wide unfurled^ gave forth a murmuring 
noise, soothing to the sense. Plain and hill, 
stream and corn-field, were discernible below, 
while we unimpeded sped on swift and secure, 
as a wild swan in his spring-tide flight. The 
machine obeyed the slightest motion of the helm; 
and, the wind bloAving steadily, there was no let 



THE LAST MAN. ] 4S 

or obstacle to our course. Such was the power 
of man over the elements ; a power long sought, 
and lately won ; yet foretold in by-gone time by 
the prince of poets, whose verses I quoted much 
to the astonishment of my pilot, when I told him 
how many hundred years ago they had been 
written : — 

Oh ! human wit, thou can'st invent much ill. 
Thou searchest strange arts : who would think by skill. 
An heavy man like a light bird should stray. 
And through the empty heavens find a way > 

I alighted at Perth ; and, though much fa- 
tigued by a constant exposure to the air for 
many hours, I would not rest, but merely al- 
tering my mode of conveyance, I went by land 
instead of air, to Dunkeld. The sun was rising 
as I entered the opening of the hills. After the 
revolution of ages Birnam hill was again co- 
vered with a young forest, while more aged 
pines, planted at the very commencement of the 
nineteenth century by the then Duke of Athol, 
gave solemnity and beauty to the scene. The 



144 THE LAST MA\'. 

rising sun first tinged the pine tops ; and my 
mind, rendered through my mountain educa- 
tion deeply susceptible of the graces of nature, 
and now on the eve of again beholding my be- 
loved and perhaps dying friend, was strangely 
influenced by the sight of those distant beams" : 
surely they were ominous, and as such I re- 
garded them, good omens for Adrian, on whose 
life my happiness depended. 

Poor fellow ! he lay stretched on a bed of 
sickness, his cheeks glowing with the hues of 
fever, his eyes half closed, his breath irre- 
gular and difficult. Yet it was less painful to 
see him thus, than to find him fulfilling the 
animal functions uninterruptedly, his mind sick 
the while. I established myself at his bedside ; 
I never quitted it day or night. Bitter task 
was it, to behold his spirit waver between deatli 
and life : to see his warm cheek, and know that 
the very fire which burned too fiercely there, was 
consuming the vital fuel ; to hear his moaning 
voice, which might never again articulate words 



THE LAST MAX. 145 

of love and wisdom ; to witness the ineffectual 
motions of his limbs, soon to be wrapt in their 
mortal shroud. Such for three days and nights 
appeared the consummation which fate had 
decreed for my labours, and I became haggard 
and spectre-like, through anxiety and watching. 
At length his eyes unclosed faintl}-, yet with a 
look of returning life ; he became pale and 
weak ; but the rigidity of his features was 
softened by approaching convalescence. He knew 
me. What a brimful cup of joyful agony it 
was, when his face first gleamed with the glance 
of recognition — Nvhen he pressed my hand, now 
more fevered than his own, and when he pro- 
nounced my name i No trace of his past in- 
sanity remained, to dash my joy with sorrow. 

This same evening his mother and sister 
arrived. The Countess of Windsor was bv 
nature full of energetic feel in o; ; but she had 
very seldom in her life permitted the concen^ 
trated emotions of her heart to shew themselves 
on her features. The studied immovability of 

VOL. I. H 



J 46 THE LAST MAN. 

her countenance ; her slow, equable manner, 
and soft but unmelodious voice, were a mask, hid- 
ing her fiery passions, and the impatience of her 
disposition. She did not in the least resemble 
either of her children ; her black and spaikling 
eye, lit up by pride, was totally unlike the 
blue lustre, and frank, benignant expression of 
either Adrian or Idris. There was something 
grand and majestic in her motions, but nothing 
persuasive, nothing amiable. Tall, thin, and 
strait, her face still handsome, her raven hair 
hardly tinged with grey, her forehead arched and 
beautiful, had not the eye-brows been somewhat 
scattered— it was impossible not to be struck by 
lier, almost to fear her. Idris appeared to be 
the only being who could resist her mother, 
notwithstanding the extreme mildness of her 
character. But there was a fearlessness and 
frankness about her, which said that she would 
not encroach on another's liberty, but held her 
own sacred and unassailable. 

The Countess cast no look of kindness on my 



THE LAST MAN. ^^* 
WOril-ULit ii«.ww, o- - ■■ ' '^ ^'"^*^ 

me coldly for my attentions. Not so Idris ; her 
first glance was for her brother; she took his 
hand, she kissed his eye-lids, and hung over him 
with looks of compassion and love. Her eyes glis- 
tened with tears when she thanked me, and the 
grace of her expressions was enhanced, not 
diminished, by the fervour, which caused her 
almost to falter as she spoke. Ker mother, 
all eyes and ears, soon interrupted us ; and I 
saw, that she wished to dismiss me quietlj^, as 
one whose services, now that his relatives had 
arrived, were of no use to her son. I was 
harassed and ill, resolved not to give up my 
post, yet doubting in what way I should assert 
it ; when Adrian called me, and clasping my 
hand, bade me not leave him. His mother, 
apparently inattentive, at once understood what 
was meant, and seeing the hold we had upon 
her, yielded the point to us. 

The days that followed were full of pain to 
me ; so that I sometimes regretted that I had 
H 2 



■^^^ THE LAST MAN. 

watched all my motions, and turned my beloved 
task of nursing my friend to a work of pain 
and irritation. Never did any woman appear 
so entirely made of mind, as the Countess of 
Windsor. Her passions had subdued her appe- 
tites, even lier natural wants ; she slept little, 
and hardly ate at all ; her body was evidently 
considered by her as. a mere m.achine, whose 
health was necessary for the accomplishment 
of her schemes, but whose senses formed no 
part of her enjoyment. There is something 
fearful in one who can thus conquer the animal 
part of our nature, if the victory be not the 
effect of consummate virtue ; nor was it without 
a mixture of this feeling, that I beheld the figure 
of the Countess awake when others slept, fasting 
when I, a*bstemious naturally, and rendered 
so by the fever that preyed on me, was 
forced to recruit myself with food. She resolv- 
ed to prevent or diminish my opportunities of 
acquiring influence over her children, and cir- 



THE LAST MAX. 149 

cumvented my plans by a hard, quiet, stubborn 
resolution, that seemed not to belong to flesh 
and blood. War was at last tacitly acknow- 
ledged between us. We had many pitched 
battles, during which no vvord was spoken, 
hardly a look was interchang*ed, but in which 
cadi resolved not to submit to the other. The 
Countess had the advantage of position ; so I 
was vanquished, though I would not yield. 

I became sick at heart. IVIy countenance was 
painted with the hues of ill health and vexa- 
tion. Adrian and Idris saw this; they attri- 
buted it to my long watching and anxiety ; they 
urged me to rest, and take care of myself, while 
I most truly assured them, that my best medicine 
was their good wishes; those, and the assured con- 
valescence of my friend, now daily more apparent. 
The faint rose again blushed on his cheek ; his 
brow and lips lost the ashy paleness of threat- 
ened dissolution ; such was the dear reward of 
my unremitting attention — and bounteous hea- 



150 THE LAST MAN. 

ven added overflowing recompence, when it gave 
me also the thanks and smiles of Idris. 

After the lapse of a few weeks, we left Dun- 
keld. Idris and her mother returned imme- 
diately to Windsor, while Adrian and I followed 
by slow journies and frequent stoppages, occa- 
sioned by his continued weakness. As we tra- 
versed the various counties of fertile England, 
all wore an exhilirating appearance to my com- 
panion, who had been so long secluded by dis- 
ease from the enjoyments of weather and 
scenery. We passed through busy towns and 
cultivated plains. The husbandmen Avere getting 
in their plenteous harvests, and the women and 
children, occupied by light rustic toils, formed 
groupes of happy, healthful persons, the very 
sight of whom carried cheerfulness to the heart. 
One evening, quitting our inn, we strolled down 
a shady lane, then up a grassy slope, till we 
came to an eminence, that commanded an ex- 
tensive view of hill and dale, meandering rivers. 



THE LAST MAN'. 15% 

dark woods, and shining villages. The sun 
was setting ; and the clouds, straying, like new- 
shorn sheep, through the vast fields of sky, re- 
ceived the golden colour of his parting beams ; 
the distant uplands shone out, and the busy- 
hum of evening came, harmonized by distance, 
on our ear. Adrian, who felt all the fresh 
spirit infused by returning health, clasped his 
hands in delight, and exclaimed with transport : 

** O happy earth, and happy inhabitants of 
earth ! A stately palace has God built for you, 
O man ! and worthy are you of your dwelling ! 
Beliold the verdant carpet spread at our feet, 
and the azure canopy above; the fields of earth 
which generate and nurture all things, and the 
track of heaven, which contains and clasps all 
things. Now, at this evening hour, at the pe- 
riod of repose and refection, metliinks all hearts 
breathe one hymn of love and thanksgiving, and 
we, like priests of old on the mountain-tops, give 
a voice to their sentiment. 

** Assuredly a most benignant power built 



152 THE LAST MAN, 

up the majestic fabric we inhabit, and 
framed the laws by which it endures. If 
mere existence, and not happiness, had been 
the final end of our being, what need of the 
profuse luxuries which we enjoy ? Why should 
our dwelling place be so lovely, and why should 
the instincts of nature minister pleasurable sen- 
sations? The very sustaining of our animal 
machine is made delightful ; and our suste- 
nance, the fruits of the field, is painted with 
ti'anscendant hues, endued with grateful odours, 
and palatable to our taste. Why should this 
be, if HE were not good ? We need houses to 
protect us from the seasons, and behold the 
materials with which we are provided ; the 
growth of trees with their adornment of 
leaves ; while rocks of stone piled above the 
plains variegate the prospect with their pleasant 
irregularity. 

'' Nor are outward objects alone the re- 
ceptacles of the Spirit of Good. Look into the 
mind of man, where wisdom reigns enthroned ^ 



THE LAST MAN. 15^ 

xrhere imagination, the painter, sits, with his 
pencil dipt in hues lovelier than those of sun- 
set, adorning familiar life with glowing tints. 
What a noble boon, worthy the giver, is the 
imagination ! it takes from reahty its leaden 
hue : it envelopes all thought and sensation in 
a radiant veil, and with an hand of beauty 
beckons us from the sterile seas of life, to her 
gardens, and bowers, and glades of bliss. And 
is not love a gift of the divinity ? Love, and 
her cliild, Hope, which can bestow wealth on 
poverty, strength on the weak, and happiness 
on the sorrowing. 

" My lot has not been fortunate. I have 
consorted long with grief, entered the gloomy 
labyrinth of madness, and emerged, but half 
alive. Yet I thank God that I have lived ! I 
thank God, that I have beheld his throne, the 
heavens, and earth, his footstool. I am glad 
that I have seen the changes of his day ; to 
behold the sun, fountain of light, and the 
gentle pilgrim moon ; to have seen the fire 
H 3 



154 THE LAST MAN". 

bearing flowers cf the sky, and the flowery 
fetars of earth ; to have witnessed the sowing 
and the harvest. I am glad that I have loved, 
and have experienced sympathetic joy and sorro\T 
widi my fellow-creatures. I am glad nov/ to feel 
the current of thought flow through my mind, 
as the blood through the articulations of my 
frame ; mere existence is pleasure ; and I thank 
God that I live ! 

" And all ye happy nurslings of mother- 
earth, do ye not echo my w ords ? Ye who are 
linked by the aff*ectionate ties of nature ; com- 
panions, friends, lovers ! fathers, who toil with 
joy for their offspring ; women, who while 
gazing on the living forms of their children, 
forget the pains of maternity ; children, who 
neither toil nor spin, but love and are loved ! 

" Oh, that death and sickness were banished 
from our earthly home ! that hatred, tyranny, 
and fear could no longer make their lair in the 
human heart ! that each man might find a 
brother in his fellow, and a nest of repose 



THE LAST MAN. 155 

amid the wide plains of his inheritance ! that 
the source of tears were dry, and that hp$ 
might no longer form expressions of sorrow. 
Sleeping thus under the beneficent eye of 
heaven, can evil visit thee, O Earth, or grief 
cradle to their graves thy luckless children ? 
Whisper it not, lest the daemons hear and re- 
joice ! The choice is with us ; let us will it, 
and our habitation becomes a paradise. For 
the will of man is omnipotent, blunting the 
arrows of death, soothing the bed of disease, 
and wiping away the tears of agony. And 
what is each human being worth, if he do not 
put forth his strength to aid his fellow-crea- 
tures ? My soul is a fading spark, my nature 
frail as a spent wave ; but I dedicate all of in- 
tellect and strength that remains to me, to that 
one work, and take upon me the task, as far as 
I am able, of bestowing blessings on my fellow- 
men !^' 

His voice trembled, his eyes were cast up, 



156 THE LAST MAN. 

his hands clasped, and his fragile person was 
bent, as it were, with excess of emotion. The 
spirit of life seemed to linger in his form, as a 
dying flame on an altar flickers on the embers 
of an accepted sacrifice. 



THE LAST MAX. 157 



CHAPTER V, 

When we arrived at Windsor, I found that 
Raymond and Perdita had departed for the 
continent. I took possession of my sister's 
cottage, and blessed myself that I lived within 
view of Windsor Castle. It was a curious fact, 
that at this period, when by the marriage of 
Perdita I was allied to one of the richest indi- 
viduals in England, and w^as bound by the most 
intimate friendship to its chiefest noble, I expe- 
rienced the greatest excess of poverty that I had 
ever known. My knowledge of the worldly 
principles of Lord Raymond, would have ever 
prevented me from applying to him, however 
deep my distress might have been. It was in 



158 THE LAST MAN. 

vain that I repeated to myself with regard to 
Adrian, that his purse was open to me ; that one 
in soul, as we were, our fortunes ought also to 
be common. I could never, while with him, 
think of his bounty as a remedy to my poverty ; 
and I even put aside hastily his offers of sup- 
plies, assuring him of a falsehood, that I needed 
them not. How could I say to this generous 
being, '' Maintain me in idleness. You who 
have dedicated your powers of mind and for- 
tune to the benefit of your species, shall you 
so misdirect your exertions, as to support in 
uselessness the strong, healthy, and capable ?""* 

And yet I dared not request him to use his 
influence that I might obtain an honourable 
provision for myself— for then I should have 
been obliged to leave Windsor. I hovered for 
ever around the walls of its Castle, beneath its 
enshadowing thickets ; my sole companions were 
my books and my loving thoughts. I studied 
the Tfisdom of the ancients, and gazed on the 
happy walls that sheltered the beloved of my soul. 



THE LAST MAN. 159 

My mind was nevertheless idle. I pored over 
the poetry of old times; I studied the metaphysics 
of Plato and Berkley. I read the histories of 
Greece and Rome, and of England's former pe- 
riods, and I watched the movements of the lady 
of my heart. At night I could see her shadow 
on the walls of her apartment ; by day I viewed 
her in her flower-garden, or riding in the park 
with her usual companions. Methought the 
charm would be broken if I were seen, but I 
heard the music of her voice and was happy. I 
gave to each heroine of whom I read, her beauty 
and matchless excellences — such was Antigone, 
when she guided the blind CEdipus to the grove 
of the Eumenides, and discharged the funeral 
rites of Polynices ; such was Miranda in the un- 
visited cave of Prospero ; such Haidee, on the 
sands of the Ionian island. I was mad with excess 
of passionate devotion ; but pride, tameless as 
fire, invested my nature, and prevented me from 
betraying myself by word or look. 

In the mean time, while I thus pampered my- 



IGO The last ma.k. 

self with rich mental repasts, a peasant would 
have disdained my scanty fare, which 1 sometimes 
robbed from the squirrels of the forest. I was, I 
own, often tempted to recur to the lawless feats of 
my boj-hood, and knock down the almost tame 
pheasants that perched upon the trees, and^bent 
their bright eyes on me. But they were the 
property of Adrian, the nurslings of Idris ; 
and so, although my imagination rendered sen- 
sual by privation, made me think that they 
would better become the spit in my kitchen, 
than the green leaves of the forest, 

Nathelesse, 
I checked my haughty will, and did not eat ; 

but supped upon sentiment, and dreamt vainly 
of " such morsels sweet," as I might not waking 
attain. 

But, at this period, the whole scheme of my 
existence was about to change. The orphan 
and neglected son of Verney, was on the eve of 
being linked to the inechanism of society by a 



THE LAST MAN. 161 

golden chain, and to enter into all the duties 
and affections of life. Miracles were to be 
wrought in my favour, the machine of social 
life pushed with vast effort backward. At- 
tend, O reader ! while 1 narrate this tale of 
wonders ! 

One day as Adrian and Idris were riding 
through the forest, with their mother and ac- 
custonied companions, Idris, drawing her bro- 
ther aside from the rest of the cavalcade^ sud- 
denly asked him, " What had become of his 
friend, Lionel Verney ?'"* 

'' Even from this spot," replied Adrian, 
pointing to my sister's cottage, " you can see 
his dwelling." 

*' Indeed !" said Idris, " and why, if he be 
so near, does he not come to see us, and make 
one of our society ?" 

" I often visit him," rephed Adrian ; " but 
you may easily guess the motives, which prevent 
him from coming where his presence may annoy 
any one among us J* 



162 THE LAST MAN. 

" I do guess them," said Idris, " and such as 
they are, I would not venture to combat them. 
Tell me, however, in what way he passes his 
time ; what he is doinfic and thinking in his cot- 
tage retreat ?" 

" Nay, my sweet sister," replied Adrian, 
" you ask me more than I can well answer ; but 
if you feel interest in him, why not visit him ? 
He will feel highly honoured, and thus you may 
repay a part of the obligation T owe him, and 
compensate for the injuries fortune has done 
him." 

" 1 will most readily accompany you to his 
abode,**' said the lady, " not that I wish that 
either of us should unburdien ourselves of our 
debt, which, being no less than your life, must 
remain unpayable ever. But let us go ; to- 
morrow we will arrange to ride out together, 
and proceeding towards that part of the forest, 
call upon him." 

The next evening therefore, though the 
autumnal change had brought on cold and rain. 



THE LAST MAN. 16S 

Adrian and Idris entered my cottage. They 
found me Curius-like, feasting on sorry fruits 
for supper ; but they brought gifts richer than 
the golden bribes of the Sabines, nor could I 
refuse the invaluable store of friendship and 
delight which they bestowed. Surely the glo- 
rious twins of Latona were not more welcome, 
when, in the infancy of the world, they were 
brought forth to beautify and enlighten this 
" sterile promontory,"" than were this angelic 
pair to my lowly dwelling and grateful heart. 
We sat like one family round my hearth. 
Our talk was on subjects, unconnected with the 
emotions that evidently occupied each ; but 
we each divined the other's thought, and as our 
voices spoke of indifferent matters, our eyes, in 
mute language, told a thousand things no 
tongue could have uttered. 

They left me in an hour^s time. They left 
me happy — how unspeakably iiappy. It did 
not require the measured sounds of human 
language to syllable the story of my extasy. 
Idris had visited me ; Idris I should again and 



164. 



THE LAST MAN. 



again see— my imagination did not wander 
beyond the completeness of this knowledge. 
I trod air ; no doubt, no fear, no hope even, 
disturbed me ; I clasped with my soul the ful- 
ness of contentment, satisfied, undesiring, bea- 
tified. 

For many days Adi'ian and Idris continued 
to visit me thus. In this dear intercourse, love, 
in tlie guise of enthusiastic friendship, infused 
more and more of his omnipotent spirit. Idris 
felt it. Yes, divinity of the world, I read your 
characters in her looks and gesture ; I heard 
your melodious voice echoed by her — you pre- 
pai'ed for us a soft and flowery path, all gentle 
thoughts adorned it — your name, O Love, was 
not spoken, but you stood the Genius of the 
Hour, veiled, and time, but no mortal hand, 
might raise the curtain. Organs of articu- 
late sound did not proclaim the union of our 
hearts ; for untoward circumstance allowed no 
opportunity for the expression that hovered on 
our lips. 



_.xx. LAST MAX. 165 

Oh my pen ! haste thou to write what was, 
before the thought of what is, arrests the hand 
that guides thee. If I hft up my eyes and see 
the desart earth, and feel that those dear eyes 
have spent their mortal lustre, and that tliose 
beauteous lips are silent, their " crimson leaves'* 
faded, for ever I am mute ! 

But yovi live, my Idris, even now you move 
before "me I There was a glade, O reader [ a 
grassy opening in the wood ; the retiring trees 
left its velvet expanse as a temple for love ; the 
silver Thames bounded it on one side, and a 
willow bending down dipt in the water its Naiad 
hair, dishevelled by the wind's viewless hand. 
The oaks around were the home of a tribe of 
nightingales — there am I now ; Idris, in youth's 
dear prime, is by my side — remember, I am just 
twenty-two, and seventeen summers have scarce- 
ly passed over the beloved of my heart. The 
river swollen by autumnal rains, deluged the 
low lands, and Adrian in his favourite boat is 
employed in the dangerous pastime of plucking 



166 THE LAST MAN. 

the topmost bough from a submerged oak. 
Are you weary of life, O Adrian, that you thus 
play with danger? — 

He has obtained his prize, and he pilots his 
boat through the flood ; our eyes were fixed on 
liim fearfully, but the stream carried him away 
from us ; he was forced to land far lower down, 
and to make a considerable circuit before he could 
join us. ^' He is safe !"" said Idris, as he leapt 
on shore, and waved the bough over his head in 
token of success ; " we will wait for him here." 

We were alone together ; the sun had set ; 
the song of the nightingales began ; the evening 
star shone distinct in the flood of light, which was 
yet unfaded in the west. The blue eyes of my 
angelic girl were fixed on this sweet emblem of 
herself : " How the light palpitates," she said, 
" which is that star's life. Its vacillating eff'ul-. 
gence seems to say that its state, even like ours 
upon earth, is wavering and inconstant ; it fears, 
metlidnks, and it loves.' 

•■' Gaze not on the star, dear, generous frieiid," 



THE LAST MAN. 167 

I cried, " read not love in Us trembling rajs ; 
look not upon distant worlds ; speak not of the 
mere imagination of a sentiment. I have long 
been silent ; long even to sickness have I 
desired to speak to you, and submit my soul, 
my hfe, my entire being to you. Look not on 
the star, dear love, or do, and let that eternal 
spark plead for me ; let it be my witness and 
my advocate, silent as it shines — love is to me 
as light to the star ; even so long as that is un- 
echpsed by annihilation, so long shall I love you." 

Veiled for ever to the world's callous eye 
must be the transport of that moment. Still 
do I feel her graceful form press against my 
full-fraught heart — still does sight, and pulse, 
and breath sicken and fail, at the remembrancd 
of that first kiss. Slowly and silentlv we went 
to meet Adrian, whom we heard approaching. 

I entreated Adrian to return to me after he 
had conducted his sister home. And that same 
evening, walking among the moon-lit forest 
paths, I poured forth my whole heart, its tran- 



168 THE LAST MAX. 

sport and its hope, to my friend. For a moment 
he looked disturbed — " I might have foreseen 
this," he said, '' what strife will now ensue ! 
Pardon me, Lionel, nor wonder that the expec- 
tation of contest with my mother should jar 
me, wlien else I should delightedly confess that 
my best hopes are fulfilled, in confiding my 
sister to your protection. If you do not already 
know it, you will soon learn the deep hate my 
mother bears to the name of Verney. I will 
converse with Idris; then all that a friend can 
do, I w^ll do ; to her it must belong to play 
the lover's part, if she be capable of it." 

While the brother and sister were still hesi- 
tating in what manner they could best attempt 
to bring their mother over to their party, she, 
suspecting our meetings, taxed her children 
w ith them ; taxed her fair daughter with deceit, 
and an unbecoming attachment for one whose 
only merit was being the son of the profligate 
favourite of her imprudent father ; and who was 
doubtless as worthless as he from whom he 



THE LAST MAN. 169 

boasted his descent. The eyes of Idris flashed 
at this accusation ; she repHed, " I do not deny 
that I love Verney ; prove to me that he is 
worthless; and I will never see him more.'"* 

*' Dear Madam,"' said Adrian, " let me en- 
treat you to see him, to cultivate his friendship. 
You will wonder then, as I do, at the extent of 
his accomplishments, and the brilliancy of his 
talents.'- (Pardon me, gentle reader, this is 
not futile vanity ;• — not futile, since to know 
that Adrian felt thus, brings joy even now to 
my lone heart). 

" Mad and foolish boy !'' exclaimed the angry 
lady, " you have chosen with dreams and theo- 
ries to overthrow my schemes for your own 
aggrandizement ; but you shall not do the same 
by those I have formed for your sister. I but 
too well understand the fascination you both 
labour under; since I had the same struggle 
with your father, to make him cast off the parent 
of this youth, who hid his evil propensities with 
the smoothness and subtlety of a viper. In 

VOL. I. 1 



170 THE LAST MAN. 

those days how often did 1 hear of his attrac- 
tions, his wide spread conquests, his wit, 
his refined manners. It is well when flies only 
are caught by such spiders'* webs ; but is it for 
the high-born and powerful to bow their necks 
to the flimsy yoke of these unmeaning pre- 
tensions ? Were your sister indeed the insig- 
nificant person she deserves to be, I would 
willingly leave her to the fate, the wretched 
fate, of the M'ife of a man, whose very person, 
resembling as it does his wretched father, ought 
to remind you of the folly and vice it typifies — 
but remember, Lady Idris, it is not alone the 
once royal blood of England that colours your 
veins, you are a Princess of Austria, and every 
life-drop is akin to emperors and kings. Are 
you then a fit mate for an uneducated shepherd- 
boy, whose only inheritance is his father's tar- 
nished name?" 

" I can make but one defence,"* replied Idris, 
" the same offered by my brother; see Lionel, 
converse with my shepherd-boy"'* 



THE LAST MAX. 171 

The Countess interrupted hpr indignantly — 
" Yours !'"' — she cried : and then, smoothing 
her impassioned features to a disdainful smile, 
she continued — " We will talk of this another 
time. All I now ask, all your mother, Idris, 
requests is, that you will not see this upstart 
during the interval of one month." 

" I dare not comply,"" said Idris, " it would 
pain him too much. I have no right to play 
with his feelings, to accept his proffered love, and 
then sting him with neglect.*' 

" This is going too far,'** her mother an- 
swered, with quivering lips, and eyes again 
instinct by anger. 

" Nay, Madam,''' said Adrian, " unle.'^s m.y 
sister consent never to see him again, it is surely 
an useless torment to separate them for a month." 

" Certainly ,'' replied the ex-queen, with bit- 
ter scorn, " his love, and her love, and both 
their childish flutterings, are to be put in fit 
comparison with my years of hope and anxiety, 
i2 



17^ THK LAST MAN. 

with the duties of the offspring of kings, with 
the high and dignified conduct which one of 
her descent ought to pursue. But it is un- 
woi'thy of me to argue and complain. Perhaps 
you will have the goodness to promise me not 
to marry during that interval? ' 

This was asked only half ironically ; and Idris 
wondered why her mother should extort from 
her a solemn vow not to do, what she had never 
dreamed of doing — but the promise was required 
and given. 

All went on cheerfully now ; we met as usual, 
and talked without dread of our future plans. 
The Countess was so gentle, and even beyond 
her wont, amiable with her children, that they 
began to entertain hopes of her ultimate con- 
sent. She was too unlike them, too utterly ali^n 
to their tastes, for them to find delight in her so- 
ciety, or ill ihe prospect of its continuance, but 
it gave them pleasure to see her conciliating and 
kind. Once even, Adrian ventured to propose 



THE LAST MAy. 1 73 

her receiving me. She refused with a smile, 
reminding him that for the present his sister had 
promised to be patient. 

One day, after the lapse of nearly a month, 
Adrian received a letter from a friend in Lon- 
don, requesting his immediate presence for the 
furdierance of some important object. Guileless 
himself, Adrian feared no deceit. I rode with 
him as far as Staines : he was in high spirits ; 
and, since I could not see Idris during his ab- 
sence, he promised a speedy return. His 
gaiety, which was extreme, had the strange 
effect of awakening in me contrary feelings ; 
a presentiment of evil hung over me ; I loitered 
on my return ; I counted the hours that must 
elapse before I saw Idris again. Wherefore 
should this be ? What evil might not happen 
in the mean time ? Might not her mother take 
advantage of Adrian's absence to urge her be- 
yond her sufferance, perhaps to entrap her ? I 
resolved, let what would befall, to see and con- 
verse with her the following day. This deter- 



174 THE LAST MAN. 

mination soothed me. To-morrow, loveliest and 
best, hope and joy of my life, to-morrow I will 
see thee — Fool, to dream of a moment's delay ? 

I went to rest. At past midnight I was 
awaked by a violent knocking. It was now 
deep winter ; it had snowed, and was still 
snowing ; the wind whistled in the leafless 
trees, despoiling them of the white flakes as 
they fell ; its drear moaning, and the continued 
knocking, mingled wildly with my dreams — at 
length I was wide awake; hastily dressing my- 
self, I hurried to discover the cause of this 
disturbance, and to open my door to the un- 
expected visitor. Pale as the snow that 
showered about her, with clasped hands, Idris 
stood before me. " Save me !"*' she exclaimed, 
and would have sunk to the ground had I 
not supported her. In a moment however 
she revived, and, with energy, almost with vio- 
lence, entreated me to saddle horses, to take 
her away, away to London — to her brother — 
at least to save her. I had no horses — she 



THE LAST SI AS. 175 

wrurg her hands. *' What can I do ?'^ she 
cried, " I am lost — \ve are both for ever lost ! 
But come— come MJth me, Lionel; here I 
must not stay, — we can get a chaise at the 
nearest post-house ; vet perhaps we have time! 
— come, O come with me to save and protect 
me !" 

When I heard her piteous demands, while 
with disordered dress, dishevelled hair, and 
aghast looks, she wrung her hands — the idea 
shot across me — is she also mad? — "Sweet 
one,"' and I folded her to my heart, *' better 
repose than wander further ; — rest— my beloved, 
I will make a fire — you are chill."" 

" Rest !" she cried, " repose ! you rave, 
Lionel ! If you delay we are lost ; come, I 
pray you, unless you would cast me off for 
ever.*' 

That Idris, the princely bom,nurshng of wealth 
and luxury, should have come through the 
tempestuous winter-night from her regal abode, 
and standing at my lowly door, conjure ire to fly 



176 THE LAST MAN. 

with her through darkness and storm— was surely 
a dream — again her plaintive tones, the sight of 
her lovehness assured me that it was no vision. 
Looking timidly around, as if she feared to be 
overheard, she whispered : " I have discovered 
— to-morrow — that is, to-day — already the to- 
morrow is come— before dawn, foreigners, Aus- 
trian s, my mother's hirelings, are to carry me 
ofF to Germany, to pi'ison, to marriage — to 
anything, except you and my brother— take 
me away, or soon they will be here !' 

I was frightened by her vehemence, and ima- 
gined some mistake in her incoherent tale ; but 
I no longer hesitated to o^^ey her. She had 
come by herself from the Castle, three long 
miles, at midnight, through the heavy snow; 
we must reach Englefield Green, a mile and 
a half further, before we could obtain a chaise- 
She told me, that she had kept up her strength 
and courage till her arrival at my cottage, and then 
botli failed. Now she could hardly walk. Sup- 
porting her as I did, still she lagged : and at the 



THE LAST MAN. 177 

distance of half a mile, after many stoppages, 
shivering fits, and half fain tings, she slipt from 
my supporting arm on the snow, and with a 
torrent of tears averred that she must be taken, 
for that she could not proceed. I lifted her up 
in my arms ; her light form rested on my breast. 
— I felt no burthen, except the internal one of 
contrary and contending emotions. Brimming 
delight how invested me. Again her chill hmbs 
touched me as a torpedo ; and I shuddered in 
sympathy with her pain and fright. Her head 
lay on my shoulder, her breath waved my hair, 
her heart beat near mine, transport made me 
tremble, blinded me, annihilated me — till a 
suppressed groan, bursting from her lips, the 
chattering of her teeth, which she strove vainly 
to subdue, and all the signs of suffering she 
evinced, recalled me to the necessity of speed 
and succour. At last I said to her, " There is 
Englefield Green ; there the inn. But, if you are 
seen thus strangely circumstanced, dear Idris, 
even now your enemies may learn your flight 
i3 



178 THE LAST MAN. 

too soon : were it not better that I hired the 
chaise alone ? I will put you in safety mean- 
while, and return to you immediately." 

She answered that I was right, and might do 
with her as I pleased. I observed the door of a 
small out^house a-jar. I pushed it open ; and, 
with some hay strewed about, I formed a couch 
for her, placing her exhausted frame on it, and 
covering her with my cloak. I feared to leave her, 
she looked so w^an and faint — but in a moment 
she re-acquired animation, and, with that, fear ; 
and again she implored me not to delay. To call 
up the people of the inn, and obtain a convey- 
ance and horses, even though I harnessed them 
myself, was the work of many minutes ; minutes, 
each freighted with the weight of ages. I caused 
the chaise to advance a little, waited till the 
people of the inn had retired, and then made 
the post-boy draw up the carriage to the spot 
where Idris, impatient, and now somewhat reco- 
vered, stood waiting for me. I lifted her into the 
chaise ; I assured her that with our four horses we 



THE LAST MAN. 179 

should arrive in London before five o'clock, the 
hour when she would be sought and missed. I 
besought her to calm herself; a kindly shower 
of tears relieved her, and by degrees she related 
her tale of fear and peril. 

That same night after Adrian's departure, 
her mother had warmly expostulated with her on 
the subject of her attachment to me. Every 
motive, every threat, every angry taunt was 
urcred in vain. She seemed to consider that 

o 

through me she had lost Raymond ; I was the 
evil influence of her life ; I was even accused of 
encreasing and confirming the mad and base 
apostacy of Adrian from all views of advance- 
ment and grandeur ; and now this miserable 
mountaineer was to steal her daughter. Never, 
Idris related, did the angry lady deign to recur 
to gentleness and persuasion ; if she had, the task 
of resistance would have been exquisitely pan- 
ful. As it was, the sweet girPs generous nature 
was roused to defend, and ally herself with, my 
despised cause. Her mother ended with a look 



180 THE LAST MA^. 

of contempt and covert triumph, which for a 
moment awakened the suspicions of Idris. 
When they parted for the night, tlie Countess 
said, " To-morrow I trust your tone will be 
changed : be composed ; I have agitated you ; 
go to rest; and I will send you a medicine I 
always take when unduly restless — it will give 
you a quiet night." 

By the time that she had with uneasy thoughts 
laid her fair cheek upon her pillow, her mother's 
servant brought a draught ; a suspicion again 
crossed her at this novel proceeding, sufficiently 
alarming to determine her not to take the potion ; 
but dislike of contention, and a wish to discover 
whether there was any just foundation for her 
conjectures, made her, she said, almost instinc- 
tively, and in contradiction to her usual frank- 
ness, pretend to swallow the medicine. Then, 
agitated as she had been by her m others vio- 
lence, and now by unaccustomed fears, she lay 
unable to sleep, starting at every sound. Swon 
her door opened softly, and on her springing 



THE LAST MAN. 181 

up, she heard a whisper, " Not asleep yet,'' and 
the door again closed. With a beating heart 
she expected another visit, and when after an 
interval her chamber was again invaded, having 
first assured herself that the intruders were her 
mother a,nd an attendant, she composed herself 
to feigned sleep. A step approached her bed, 
she dared not move, she strove to calm her pal- 
pitations, which became more violent, when she 
heard her mother say mutteringly, '* Pretty 
simpleton, little do you think that your game 
is already at an end for ever." 

For a moment the poor girl fancied that her 
mother believed that she had drank poison : 
she was on the point of springing up ; when the 
Countess, already at a distance from the bed, 
spoke in a ow voice to her companion, and 
again Idris listened : " Hasten,"" said she, 
" there is no time to lose — it is long past 
eleven ; they will be here at five ; take merely 
the clothes necessary for her journey, and her 
jewel-casket.*"' The servant obeyed ; few words 



182 THE LAST MAN. 

were spoken on either side ; but those were 
caught at with avidity by the intended victim. 
She heard the name of her ovvn maid men- 
tioned ; — '' No, no,*" replied her mother, " she 
does not go with us; Lady Idris must forget 
England, and all belonging to it.'"* And again 
she heard, " She will not wake till late to- 
morrow, and we shall then be at sea." ^' All 

is ready ,""* at length the woman announced. 
The Countess again came to her daughter's bed- 
side : "In Austria at least," she said, " you 
will obey. In Austria, where obedience can be 
enforced, and no choice left but between an 
honourable prison and a fitting marriage." 

Both then withdrew ; though, as she went, 
the Countess said, " Softly ; all sleep ; though 
all have not been prepared for sleep, like her. 
I would not have any one suspect, or she might 
be roused to resistance, and perhaps escape. 
Come with me to my room ; we will remain 
there till the hour agreed upon.'* They went. 
Idris, panic-struck, but animated and strength- 



THE LAST ilAN. iHB 

ened even by her excessive fear, dressed her- 
self hurriedly, and going down a flight of 
back-stairs, avoiding the vicinity of her mother'*s 
apartment, she contrived to escape from the 
castle by a low window, and came through 
snow, wind, and obscurity to my cottage ; nor 
h)st her courage, until she arrived, and, depositing 
her fate in my hands, gave herself up to the 
desperation and weariness that overwhelmed 
her. 

I comforted her as well as I might. Joy 
and exultation, were mine, to possess, and to save 
her. Yet not to excite fresh agitation in her, 
" per non iurbar quel bel viso sereno^ I 
curbed my delight. I strove to quiet the eager 
dancing of my heart; I turned from her my 
eyes, beaming with too much tenderness, and 
proudly, to dark night, and the inclement at- 
mosphere, murmured the expressions of my 
transport. We reached London, methought, 
all too soon ; and yet I could not regret our 
speedy arrival, when I witnessed the extasy with 



184 THE LAST MAN. 

which my beloved girl found herself in her 
brother's arms, safe from every evil, under his 
unblamed protection. 

Adrian wrote a brief note to his mother, in- 
forming her that Idris was under his care and 
guardianship. Several days elapsed, and at 
last an answer came, dated from Cologne. "It 
was useless," the haughty and disappointed 
lady wrote, " for the Earl of Windsor and his 
sister to address again the injured parent, 
whose only expectation of tranquillity must be 
derived from oblivion of their existence. Her 
desires had been blasted, her schemes over- 
throTVTi. She did not complain ; in her brother'^s 
court she would find, not compensation for their 
disobedience (fihal unkindness admitted of none), 
but such a state of things and mode of life, as 
mio-ht best reconcile her to her fate. Under 

o 

such circumstances, she positively declined any 
communication with them." 

Such were the strange and incredible events, 
that finally brought about my union with the 



THE LAST MAN. 185 

sister of my best friend, with my adored Idris. 
With simplicity and courage she set aside the 
prejudices and opposition which were obstacles 
to my happiness, nor scrupled to give her hand, 
where she had given her heart. To be worthy 
of her, to raise myself to her height through 
the exertion of talents and virtue, to repay her 
love with devoted, unwearied tenderness, were 
the only thanks I could offer for the matchless 
gift. 



186 THE LAST MAN. 



CHAPTER VI. 



And now let the reader, passing over some 
short period of time, be introduced to our happy 
circle. Adrian, Idris and I, were established 
in Windsor Castle ; Lord Raymond and my 
sister, inhabited a house which the former 
had built on the borders of the Great Park, 
near Perdita's cottage, as was still named the low- 
roofed abode, where we two, poor even in hope, 
had each received the assurance of our felicity. 
We had our separate occupations and our 
common amusements. Sometimes we passed 
whole days under the leafy covert of the forest 
with our books and music. This occurred dur- 
ing those rare days in this country, when the sun 



THE LAST MAN. 187 

mounts his etlierial throne in unclouded majesty, 
and the ^vindless atmosphere is as a bath of pel- 
lucid and grateful water, wrapping the senses in 
tranquillity. When the clouds veiled the sky, 
and the wind scattered them there and here, 
rending their woof, and strewinoc its fraorments 
through the aerial plains — then we rode out, and 
sought new spots of beauty and repose. When 
the frequent rains sliut us within doors, evening 
recreation followed morning study, ushered in by 
music and song. Idris had a natural musical 
talent ; and her voice, which had been carefully 
cultivated, was full and sweet. Raymond and 
I made a part of the concert, and Adrian and 
Perdita were devout listeners. Then we were 
as gay as summer insects, playful as children; 
we ever met one another with smiles, and read 
content and joy in each other's countenances. 
Our prime festivals were held in Perdita' s cot- 
tage ; nor were we ever weary of talking of the 
past or dreaming of the future. Jealousy and 
disquiet were unknown among us ; nor did a 



1S8 THE LAST MAN. 

fear or hope of change ever disturb our tran- 
quillity. Others said. We might be happy— we 
said — We are. 

When any separation toolc place between us, 
it generally so happened, that Idris and Perdita 
would ramble away together, and we remained 
to discuss the affairs of nations, and the philo- 
sophy of life. The very difference of our dispo- 
sitions gave zest to these conversations. Adrian 
had the superiority in learning and eloquence ; 
but Raymond possessed a quick penetration, and 
a practical knowledge of life, which usually 
displayed itself in opposition to Adrian, and 
thus kept up the ball of discussion. At other 
times we made excursions of many days' dura- 
tion, and crossed the country to visit any spot 
noted, for beauty or historical association. Some- 
times we went up to London, and entered into the 
amusements of the busy throng ; sometimes our 
retreat was invaded by visitors from among 
them. This change made us only the more 
sensible to the delights of the intimate inter- 



THE LAST Mx\X. 189 

course of our own circle, the tranquillity of our 
divine forest, and our happy evenings in the 
halls of our beloved Castle. 

The disposition of Idris was peculiarly frank, 
soft, and affectionate. Her temper was unalter- 
ably sv^'eet ; and although firm and resolute on 
any point that touched her heart, she was 
yielding to those she loved. The nature of 
Perdita was less perfect ; but tenderness and 
happiness improved her temper, and softened 
her natural reserve. Her understanding was 
clear and comprehensive, her imagination vivid ; 
she was sincere, generous, and reasonable. 
Adrian, the matchless brother of my soul, 
the sensitive and excellent Adrian, loving all, 
and beloved by all, yet seemed destined not to 
find the half of himself, which was to complete 
his happiness. He often left us, and wandered 
by himself in the woods, or sailed in his little 
skiff', his books his only companions. He was 
often the gayest of our party, at the same time 
that he was the only one visited by fits of des- 



190 THE LAST MAN. 

pondency ; his slender frame seemed over- 
charged with the weight of hfe, and his soul 
appeared rather to inhabit his body than unite 
with it. I was hardly more devoted to my 
Idris than to her brother, and she loved him 
as her teacher, her friend, the benefactor who 
had secured to her the fulfilment of her dearest 
wishes. Raymond, the ambitious, restless 
Raymond, reposed midway on the great high- 
road of life, and was content to give up all his 
schemes of sovereignty and fame, to make one of 
us, the flowers of the field. His kingdom was 
the heart of Perdita, his subjects her thoughts ; 
by her he was loved, respected as a superior 
beins", obeyed, waited on. No office, no devo- 
tion, no watching was irksome to her, as it I'e- 
garded him. She would sit apart from us and 
watch him ; she would weep for joy to think 
that he was hers. She erected a temple for 
him in the depth of her being, and each fa- 
culty was a priestess vowed to his service. 
Sometimes she might be wayward and capricious; 



THE LAST MAX. 191 

but lier repentance was Litter, her return en- 
tire, and even this inequaUty of temper suited 
liim who was not formed by nature to float idly 
down the stream of life. 

During the first year of their marriage, 
Perdita presented Raymond with a lovely girl. 
It w^as curious to trace in this miniature model 
the very traits of its father. The same half- 
disdainful lips and smile of triumph, the same 
intelligent eyes, the same brow and chesnut 
hair ; her very hands and taper fingers resembled 
his. How very dear she was to Perdita ! In 
progress of time, 1 also became a father, and 
our little darlings, our playthings and delights, 
called forth a thousand new and delicious 
feelings. 

Years passed thus, — even years. Each month 
brought forth its successor, each year one like 
to that gone by; truly, our lives were a living 
comment on that beautiful sentiment of Plu- 
tarch, that " our souls have a natural inclinji- 
tion to love, being born as much to love, as to 



19^ THE LAST MAN. 

feel, to reason, to understand and remember.''* 
We talked of change and active pursuits, but 
still remained at Windsor, incapable of violating 
the charm that attached us to our secluded 
life. 

Pareamo aver qui tutto il ben raccolto 

Che fra mortali in piti parte si rimembra. 

Now also that our children gave us occupation, 
we found excuses for our idleness, in tlie idea of 
bringing them up to a more splendid career. At 
length our tranquillity was disturbed, and the 
course of events, which for five years had flowed 
on in hushing tranquillity, was broken by 
breakers and obstacles, that woke us from our 
pleasant dream. 

A new Lord Protector of England was to be 
chosen ; and, at Raymond's request, we removed 
to London, to witness, and even take a part in 
the election. If Raymond had been united to 
Idris, this post had been his stepping-stone to 
higher dignity ; and his desire for power and 
fame had been crowned with fullest measure. 



THE LAST MAN. 193 

He had exchanged a sceptre for a kite, a king- 
dom for Perdita. 

Did he think of this as we journeyed up to 
town? I watched him, but could make but 
Httle of him. He was particularly gay, playing 
with his child, and turning to sport every word 
that was uttered. Perhaps he did this because 
he saw a cloud upon Perdita's brow. She tried 
to rouse herself, but her eyes every now and 
then filled with tears, and she looked wistfully 
on Raymond and her girl, as if fearful that 
some evil would betide them. And so she felt. 
A presentiment of ill hung over her. She 
leaned from the window looking on the forest, 
and the turrets of the Castle, and as these became 
hid ■ by intervening objects, she passionately 
exclaimed — " Scenes of happiness ! scenes sa- 
cred to devoted love, when shall I see you again! 
and when I see ye, shall I be still the beloved 
and joyous Perdita, or shall I, heart-broken and 
lost, wander among your groves, the ghost of 
what I am !'' 

VOL. I. K 



194 THE LAST MAN. 

" Why, silly one," cried Raymond, " what 
is your litlle head pondering upon, that of a 
sudden you have become so sublimely dismal ? 
Cheer up, or I shall make you over to Idris, 
and call Adrian into the carriage, who, I see by 
his gesture, sympathizes with my good spirits.''^ 

Adrian was on horseback ; he rode up to the 
carriage, and his gaiety, in addition to that of 
Raymond, dispelled my sister's melancholy. 
We entered London in the evening, and went 
to our several abodes near Hyde Park. 

The following morning Lord Raymond vi- 
sited me early. " I come to you,"*' he said, 
" only half assured that you will assist me in 
my project, but resolved to go through with it, 
whether you concur with me or not. Promise 
me secrecy however ; for if you will not contri- 
bute to my success, at least you must not baffle 
me." 

" Well, I promise. And now " 

" And now, my dear fellow, for what are we 
come to London ? To be present at the election 



THE' LAST MAN. 195 

of a Protector, and to give our yea or nay for 

his shuffling Grace of ? or for that 

noisy Ryland ? Do you believe, Verney, that I 
brought you to town for that ? No, we will have 
a Protector of our own. We will set up a can- 
didate, and ensure his success. We will nomi- 
nate Adrian, and do our best to bestow on him 
the power to which he is entitled by his birth, 
and which he merits through his virtues. 

" Do not answer; I know all your objections, 
and will reply to them in order. First, Whe- 
ther he will or will not consent to become a 
great man ? Leave the task of persuasion on 
that point to me ; I do not ask you to assist me 
there. Secondly, Whether he ought to ex- 
change his employment of plucking blackberries, 
and nursing wounded partridges in the forest, 
for the command of a nation ? My dear Lionel, 
we are married men, and find employment 
sufficient in amusing our wives, and dancing our 
children. But Adrian is alone, wifeless, child- 
less, unoccupied. I have long observed him. 
K 2 



19() THE LAST MAX 

He pines for want of some interest m life. 
His heart, exhausted by his early sufferings, 
reposes like a new-healed limb, and shrinks from 
all excitement. But his understanding, his cha- 
rity, his virtues, want a field for exercise and 
display ; and we will procure it for him. Be- 
sides, is it not a shame, that the genius of Adrian 
should fade from the earth like a flower in an 
untrod mountain-path, fruitless .'' Do you think 
Nature composed his surpassing machine for no 
purpose ? Beheve me, he was destined to be the 
autlior of infinite good to his native England. 
Has she not bestowed on him every gift in pro- 
digality ? — birth, wealth, talent, goodness ? Does 
not every one love and admire him ? and does 
he not delight singly in such efforts as manifest 
his love to all ? Come, I see that you are al- 
ready persuaded, and will second me when I 
propose him to-night in parliament." 

" You have got up all your arguments in 
excellent order," I replied ; " and, if Adrian 
consent, they are unanswerable. One onlv con- 



THE LAST MAN. 197 

dition I would make, — that you do nothing 
without liis concurrence." 

" I beh'eve you are in the right," said Ray- 
mond; " although I had thought at first to 
arrange the affair differently. Be it so. I will 
go instantly to Adrian ; and, if he inclines to con- 
sent, you u'ill not destroy my labour by per- 
suading him to return, and turn squirrel again 
in Windsor Forest. Idris, you will not act the 
traitor towards me ?" 

"^ Trust me," replied she, " I will preserve 
a strict neutrality." 

" For my part," said I, " I am too well con- 
vinced of the worth of our friend, and the rich 
harv'est of benefits that all England would reap 
from his Protectorship, to deprive my coun- 
trymen of such a blessing, if he consent to 
Ijestow it on them."" 

In the evening Adrian visited us. — '' Do you 
cabal also against me," said he, laughing ; " and 
will you make common cause with Raymond, in 
dragging a poor visionary from the clouds to sur- 



J^ THE LAST MAN 

round him with the fire-works and blasts of 
earthly grandeur, instead of heavenly rays and 
airs ? I thought you knew me better." 

" I do know you better," I replied " than to 
think that you would be happy in such a situa- 
tion ; but the good you would do to others may 
be an inducement, since the time is probably 
arrived when you can put your theories into 
practice, and you may bring about such refor- 
mation and change, as will conduce to that 
perfect system of government which you delight 
to portray." 

'' You speak of an almost-forgotten dream," 
said Adrian, his countenance slightly clouding 
as he spoke ; " the visions of my boyhood have 
long since faded in the light of reality ; I know 
now that I am not a man fitted to govern 
nations ; sufficient for me, if I keep in whole- 
some rule the little kingdom of my own mor- 
tahty. 

" But do not you see, Lionel, the drift of our 
noble friend ; a drift, perhaps, unknown to him- 



THE LAST MAN. 199 

self, but apparent to me. Lord Raymond was 
never born to be a drone in the hive, and to 
find content in our pastoral life. He thinks, 
that he ought to be satisfied ; he imagines, that 
his present situation precludes the possibility of 
aggrandisement ; he does not therefore, even 
in his own heart, plan change for himself. But 
do you not see, that, under the idea of exalting 
me, he is chalking out a new path for himself; 
a path of action from which he has long wan- 
dered ? 

" Let us assist him. He, the noble, the war- 
like, the great in every quality that can adorn 
the mind and person of man ; be is fitted to be 
the Protector of England . If / — that is, if rre 
propose him, he will assuredly be elected, and 
will find, in the functions of that high office, 
scope for the towering powers of his mind. 
Even Perdita will rejoice. Perdita, in whom 
ambition was a covered fire until she married 
Ra}Tnond, which event was for a time the ful- 
filment of her hopes ; Perdita vnW rejoice in the 



200 THE LAST MAN. 

glory and advancement of lier lord— and, coyly 
and prettily, not be discontented with her share. 
In the mean time, we, the wise of the land, 
will return to our Castle, and, Cincinnatus-like, 
take to our usual labours, until our friend shall 
require our presence and assistance here.'"* 

The more Adrian reasoned upon this scheme, 
the more feasible it appeared. His own deter- 
mination never to enter into public life was 
insurmountable, and the delicacy of his health 
was a sufficient argument against it. The next 
step was to induce Raymond to confess his secret 
wishes for dignity and fame. He entered while 
we were speaking. The way in which Adrian 
had received his project for setting him up as a 
candidate for the Protectorship, and his replies, 
had already awakened in his mind, the view of 
the subject which we were now discussing. His 
countenance and manner betrayed irresolution 
and anxiety ; but the anxiety arose from a fear 
that we should not prosecute, or not succeed in our 
idea ; and his irresolution, from a doubt whether 



THE LAST MAN. 201 

we should risk a defeat. A few \Yords from us 
decided him, and hope and joy sparkled in his 
eyes ; the idea of embarking in a career, so con- 
genial to his early habits and cherished wishes, 
made him as before energetic and bold. We 
discussed his chances, the merits of the other 
candidates, and the dispositions of the voters. 

After all we miscalculated. Raymond had 
lost much of his popularity, and was deserted 
by his peculiar partizans. Absence from the 
busy stage had caused him to be forgotten by 
the people ; his former parliamentary supporters 
were principally composed of royalists, who had 
been willing to make an idol of him when he 
appeared as the heir of the Earldom of Wind- 
sor ; but who were indifferent to him, when he 
came forward with no other attributes and dis- 
tinctions than they conceived to be common to 
many among themselves. Still he had many 
friends, admirers of his transcendent talents; 
his presence in the house, his eloquence, address 
and imposing beauty, were calculated to produce 
K 3 



202 THE LAST MAN. 

an electric effect. Adrian also, notwithstanding 
his recluse habits and theories, so adverse to the 
spirit of party, had many friends, and they were 
easily induced to vote for a candidate of his 
selection. 

The Duke of , and Mr. Ryland, Lord 

Raymond's old antagonist, were the other candi- 
dates. Tlie Duke was supported by all t)ie 
aristocrats of the republic, who considered him 
their proper representative. Ryland was the po- 
pular candidate ; when Lord Raymond was first 
added to the list, his chance of success appeared 
small. We retired from the debate which had 
followed on his nomination : we, his nominators, 
mortified ; he dispirited to excess. Perdita re- 
proached us bitterly. Her expectations had 
been strongly excited; she had urged nothing 
against our project, on the contrary, she was 
evidently pleased by it ; but its evident ill 
success changed the current of her ideas. She 
felt, that, once awakened, Raymond would never 
return unrepining to Windsor. His habits were 



THE LAST MAN. 203 

unliinged ; his restless mind roused from its sleep, 
ambition must now be his companion through 
life ; and if he did not succeed in his present 
attempt, she foresaw that unhappiness and cure- 
less discontent would follow. Perhaps her own 
disappointment added a sting to her thoughts 
and words ; she did not spare us, and our own 
reflections added to our disquietude. 

It was necessary to follow up our nomination, 
and to persuade Raymond to present himself to 
the electors on the following evening. For a 
long time he was obstinate. He would embark 
in a balloon ; he would sail for a distant quarter 
of the world, where his name and humiliation 
were unknown. But this was useless; his at- 
tempt was registered ; his purpose published to 
the world ; his shame could never be erased from 
the memories of men. It was as well to fail at 
last after a struggle, as to fly now at the be- 
ginning of his enterprise. 

From the moment that he adopted this idea, 
he was changed. His depression and anxiety 



204 THE LAST MA^". 

fled; he became all life and activity. The 
smile of triumph shone on his countenance ; de- 
termined to pursue his object to the uttermost, 
his manner and expression seem ominous of the 
accomplishment of his wishes. Not so Perdita. 
She was frightened by his gaiety, for she 
dreaded a greater rerulsion at the end. If his 
appearance even inspired us with hope, it only 
rendered the state of her mind more painful. 
She feared to lose sight of him ; yet she dreaded 
to remark any change in the temper of his mind. 
She listened eagerly to him, yet tantalized her- 
self by giving to his words a meaning foreign to 
their true interpretation, and adverse to lier 
hopes. She dared not be present at the contest ; 
yet she remained at home a prey to double soli- 
citude. She wept over her little girl ; she 
looked, she spoke, as if she dreaded the occur- 
rence of some frightful calamity. She was half 
mad from the effects of uncontrollable agitation. 
Lord Raymond presented himself to the house 
with fearless confidence and insinuating address. 



THE LAST MAN. 205 

After the Duke of and Mr. Ryland 

had finished their speeches, he commenced. 
Assuredly he had not conned his lesson ; and at 
first he hesitated, pausing in his ideas, and in 
the choice of his expressions. By degrees he 
warmed ; his words flowed with ease, his lan- 
guage was full of vigour, and his voice of persua- 
sion. He reverted to his past life, his successes 
in Greece, his favour at home. Why should 
he lose this, now that added years, prudence, 
and the pledge which his marriage gave to his 
country, ought to encrease, rather than di- 
minish his claims to confidence ? He spoke of 
the state of England ; the necessary measures 
to be taken to ensure its security, and confirm 
its prosperity. He drew a glowing picture of 
its present situation. As he spoke, every sound 
was hushed, every thought suspended by in- 
tense attention. His graceful elocution en- 
chained the senses of his hearers. In some de- 
gree also he was fitted to reconcile all parties. 



206 THE LAST MAN. 

His birth pleased the aristocracy ; his being the 
candidate recommended by Adrian, a man inti- 
mately allied to the popular party, caused a 
number, who had no great reliance either on 
the Duke or Mr. Ryland, to range on his side. 

The contest was keen and doubtful. Neither 
Adrian nor myself would have been so anxious, if 
our own success had depended on our exertions ; 
but we had egged our friend on to the enter- 
prise, and it became us to ensure his triumph. 
Idris, who entertained the highest opinion of 
his abilities, was warmly interested in the event : 
and my poor sister, who dared not hope, and to 
whom fear was misery, was plunged into a fever 
of disquietude. 

Day after day passed while we discussed our 
projects for the evening, and each night was oc- 
cupied by debates which offered no conclusion. 
At last the crisis came : the night when parlia- 
ment, which had so long delayed its choice, must 
decide : as the hour of twelve passed^ and the new 



THE LAST MAN'. ^7 

day began, it was by virtue of the constitution 
dissolved, its power extinct. 

We assembled at Raymond's house, we and 
our partizans. At half pa^t five o'clock we 
proceeded to the House. Idris endeavoured to 
cahii Perdita; but the poor giil's agitation 
deprived her of all power of self-command. 
She walked up and down the room, — gazed 
wildly when any one entered, fancving that 
they might be the announcers of her doom. 
I must do justice to my sweet sister: it was 
not for herself that she was thus agonized. 
She alone knew the weight which Raymond 
attached to his success. Even to us he assumed 
gaiety and hope, and assumed them so well, 
that we did not divine the secret workings of 
his mind. Sometimes a nervous trembling, 
a sharp dissonance of voice, and momentary 
fits of absence revealed to Perdita the \4olence 
he did himself; but we, intent on our plans, 
observed only his ready laugh, his joke intruded 
on all occasions, the flow of his spirits which 



208 THE LAST MAN, 

seemed incapable of ebb. Besides, Perdita was 
with him in his retirement; she saw the moodi- 
ness that succeeded to this forced hilarity ; 
she marked his disturbed sleep, his painful 
irritability — once she had seen his tears — hers 
had scarce ceased to flow, since she had beheld 
the big drops which disappointed pride had 
caused to gather in his eye, but which pride was 
unable to dispel. What wonder then, that her 
feelings were wrought to this pitch ! I thus 
accounted to myself for her agitation ; but this 
was not all, and the sequel revealed another 
excuse. 

One moment we seized before our departure, 
to take leave of our beloved girls. I had small 
hope of success, and entreated Idris to watch 
over my sister. As I approached the latter, 
she seized my hand, and drew me into another 
apartment ; she threw herself into my arms, and 
wept and sobbed bitterly and long. I tried to 
soothe her ; 1 bade her hope ; I asked what tre- 
mendous consequences would ensue even on our 



THE LAST MAN. 209 

failure. '• My brother," she cried, " protector 
of my childhood, dear, most dear Lionel, my 
fate hangs by a thread. I have you all about 
me now — you, the companion of my infancy ; 
Adrian, as dear to me as if bound by the ties of 
blood ; Idris, the sister of my heart, and her 
lovely offspring. This, O this may be the last 
time that you will surround me thus !" 

Abruptly she stopped, and then cried: 
" What have I said ? — foolish false girl that I 
am !"" She looked wildly on me, and then 
suddenly calming herself, apologized for what 
she called her unmeaning words, saying that 
she must indeed be insane, for, while Raymond 
lived, she must be happy ; and then, though she 
still wept, she suffered me tranquilly to depart. 
Raymond only took her hand when he went, 
and looked on her expressively ; she answered 
by a look of intelligence and assent. 

Poor ffirl ! what she then suffered I I could 

o 

never entirely forgive Raymond for the trials 
he imposed on her, occasioned as they were by 



210 THE LAST MAN. 

a selfish feeling on his part. He had schemed, 
if he failed in his present attempt, without 
taking leave of any of us, to embark for Greece, 
and never again to revisit England. Perdita 
acceded to his wishes ; for his contentment was 
the chief object of her life, the crown of her 
enjoyment; but to leave us all, her companions, 
the beloved partners of her happiest years, and 
in the interim to conceal this frightful determi- 
nation, was a task that almost conquered her 
strength of mind. She had been employed in 
arranging for their departure ; she had pro- 
mised Raymond during this decisive evening, 
to take advantage of our absence, to go one 
stage of the journey, and he, after his defeat 
was ascertained, would shp away from us, and 
join her. 

Although, when I was informed of this scheme, 
I was bitterly offended by the small attention 
which Raymond paid to my sister's feehngs, I was 
led by reflection to consider, that he acted imder 
the force of such strong excitement, as to take 



THE LAST MAN. 211 

from him the consciousness, and, consequently, 
the guilt of a fault. If he had permitted us to 
witness his agitation, he would have been more 
under the guidance of reason ; but his struggles 
for the shew of composure, acted with such 
violence on his nerves, as to destroy his power 
of self-command. I am convinced that, at the 
worst, he would have returned from the sea- 
shore to take leave of us, and to make us the 
partners of his council. But the task imposed 
on Perdita was not the less painful. He had 
extorted from her a vow of secrecy ; and her 
part of the drama, since it was to be performed 
alone, was the most agonizing that could be 
devised. But to return to my narrative. 

The debates had hitherto been long: and 
loud ; they had often been protracted merely 
for the sake of delay. But now each seemed 
fearful lest the fatal moment should pass, while 
the choice was yet undecided. Unwonted si- 
lence reigned in the house, the members spoke 
in whispers, and the ordinary business was 



212 THE LAST MAN. 

transacted with celerity and quietness. During 
the first stage of the election, the "Duke of 

had been thrown out ; the question 

therefore lay between Lord Raymond and 
Mr. Ryland. The latter had felt secure of 
victory, until the appearance of Raymond; and, 
since his name had been inserted as a candi- 
date, he had canvassed with eagerness. He 
had appeared each evening, impatience and 
anger marked in his looks, scowling on us 
from the opposite side of St. Stephen's, as if 
his mere frown would cast eclipse on our 
hopes. 

Every thing in the Enghsh constitution had 
been regulated for' the better preservation of 
peace. On the last day, two candidates only 
were allowed to remain ; and to obviate, if 
possible, the last struggle between these, a bribe 
was offered to him who should voluntarily resign 
his pretensions ; a place of great emolviment and 
honour was given him, and his success facilitated 
at a future election. Strange to say however, 



THE LAST MAN. 2J3 ' 

no instance had yet occurred, where either 
candidate had had recourse to this expedient ; 
in consequence the law had become obsolete, 
nor had been referred to by any of us in our 
discussions. To our extreme surprise, when 
it was moved that we should resolve ourselves 
into a committee for the election of the Lord 
Protector, the member who had nominated 
Ryland, rose and informed us that this candi- 
date had resigned his pretensions. His infor- 
mation was at first received with silence ; a 
confused murmur succeeded; and, when the 
chairman declared Lord Raymond duly chosen, 
it amounted to a shout of applause and victory. 
It seemed as if, far from any dread of defeat 
even if ]Mr. Ryland had not resigned, every 
voice would have been united in favour of our 
candidate. In fact, now that the idea of con- 
test was dismissed, all hearts returned to their 
former respect and admiration of our accom- 
plished friend. Each felt, that England had 
never seen a Protector so capable of fulfilling 



214 THE LAST MAN. 

the arduous duties of that high office. One 
voice made of many voices, resounded through 
the chamber; it syllabled the name of Ray- 
mond. 

He entered. I was on one of the highest 
seats, and saw him walk up the passage to the 
table of the speaker. The native modesty of 
his disposition conquered the joy of his triumph. 
He looked round timidly ; a mist seemed before 
his eyes. Adrian, who was beside me, has- 
tened to him, and jumping down the benches, 
was at his side in a moment. His appearance 
re-animated our friend ; and, when he came to 
speak and act, his hesitation vanished, and he 
shone out supreme in majesty and victory. The 
former Protector tendered him the oaths, and pre- 
sented him with the insignia of office, performing 
the ceremonies of installation. The house then 
dissolved. The chief members of the state 
crowded round the new magistrate, and con- 
ducted him to the palace of government. Adrian 
suddenly vanished ; and, by the time that Ray- 



THE LAST MAN. 215 

mond's supporters were reduced to our intimate 
friends merely, returned leading Idris to con- 
gratulate her friend on his success. 

But where was Perdita? In securing soli- 
citously an unobserved retreat in case of failure, 
Raymond had forgotten to ari'ange the mode by 
which she was to hear of his success ; and she 
had been too much agitated to revert to this cir- 
cumstance. When Idris entered, so far had Ray- 
mond forgotten himself, that he asked for my 
sister ; one word, which told of her mysterious 
disappearance, recalled him. Adrian it is true 
had already gone to seek the fugitive, imagining 
that her tameless anxiety had led her to the pur- 
lieus of the House, and that some sinister event 
detained her. But Raymond, without explain- 
ing himself, suddenly quitted us, and in another 
moment we heard him gallop down the street, 
in spite of the wind and rain that scattered tem- 
pest over the earth. We did not know how far 
he had to go, and soon separated, supposing 
that in a short time he would return to the pa- 



216 THE LAST MAN. 

lace with Perdita, and that they would not be 
sorry to find themselves alone. 

Perdita had arrived with her child at Dar- 
ford, weeping and inconsolable. She directed 
every thing to be prepared for the continuance 
of their journey, and placing her lovely sleep- 
ing charge on a bed, passed several hours 
in acute suffering. Sometimes she observed 
the war of elements, thinking that they also 
declared against her, and listened to the patter- 
ing of the rain in gloomy despair. Sometimes 
she hung over her child, tracing her resem- 
blance to the father, and fearful lest in after 
life she should display the same passions and 
uncontrollable impulses, that rendered him un- 
happy. Again, with a gush of pride and delight, 
she marked in the features of her little girl, 
the same smile of beauty that often irradiated 
Raymond's countenance. The sight of it sooth- 
ed her. She thought of the treasure she pos- 
sessed in the affections of her lord ; of his 
accomplishments, surpassing those of his con- 



THE LAST MAN. S17 

temporaries, his genius, his devotion to her. — 
Soon she thought, that all she possessed in the 
world, except him, might well be spared, nay, 
given with delight, a propitiatory offering, to 
secure the supreme good she retained in him. 
Soon she imagined, that fate demanded this 
sacrifice from her, as a mark she was de- 
voted to Raymond, and that it must be made 
with cheerfulness. She figured to herself their 
life in the Greek isle he had selected for 
their retreat; her task of soothing him; her 
cares for the beauteous Clara, her rides in his 
company, her dedication of herself to his conso- 
lation. The picture then presented itself to her 
in such glowing colours, that she feared the re- 
verse, and a life of magnificence and power in 
London ; where Raymond would no longer be 
hers only, nor she the sole source of happiness 
to him. So far as she merely was concerned, 
she began to hope for defeat ; and it was only 
on his account that her feehngs vacillated, as she 
heard him gallop into the court-yard of the imi. 

VOL. I. L 



218 THE LAST MAN. 

That he should come to her alone, wetted by 
the storm, careless of every thing except speed, 
what else could it mean, than that, vanquished 
and solitary, they were to take their way from 
native England, the scene of shame, and hide 
themselves in the myrtle groves of the Grecian 
isles ? 

In a moment she was in his arms. The know- 
ledge of his success had become so much a part 
of himself, that he forgot that it was necessar}^ 
to impart it to his companion. She only felt in 
his embrace a dear assurance that while he pos- 
sessed her, he would not despair. '' This is kind," 
she cried ; "this is noble, my own beloved ! O 
fear not disgrace or lowly fortune, while you 
have your Perdita ; fear not sorrow, while our 
child lives and smiles. Let us go even where 
you will ; the love that accompanies us will pre- 
vent our regrets." 

Locked in his embrace, she spoke thus, and 
cast back her head, seeking an assent to her 
words in his eyes — they were sparkling with 



THE LAST MAN. 219 

ineffable delight. " "Why, my little Lady Pro- 
tectress,'"' said he, playfully, "what is this you 
say ? And what pretty scheme have you woven 
of exile and obscurity, while a brighter web, a 
gold-enwoven tissue, is that which, in truth, you 
ought to contemplate ?'' 

He kissed her brow — but the wayward girl, 
half sorry at his triumph, agitated by swift 
change of tliought, hid her face in his bosom 
and wept. He comforted her ; he instilled into 
her his own hopes and desires ; and soon her 
countenance beamed with sympathy. How very 
happy were they that night ! Hoav full even 
to bursting was their sense of joy ' 



L 2 



S20 THE LAST MAN, 



CHAPTER VII. 

Having seen our friend properly installed in 
his new office, we turned our eyes towards 
Windsor. The nearness of this place to ton- 
don was such, as to take away the idea of pain- 
ful separation, when we quitted Raymond and 
Perdita. We took leave of them in the Pro- 
tector al Palace. It was pretty enough to see 
my sister enter as it were into the spirit of the 
drama, and endeavour to fill her station with 
becoming dignity. Her internal pride and hu- 
mility of manner were now more than ever at war. 
Her timidity was not artificial, but arose from 
that fear of not being properly appreciated, that 
slight estimation of the neglect of the world. 



THE LAST MAN\ 221 

\vhich also characterized Raymond. But then 
Perdita thought more constantly of others than 
he ; and part of her bashfulness arose from a wish 
to take from those around her a sense of infe- 
riority ; a feehng which viever crossed her mind. 
From the circumstances of her birth and educa- 
tion, Jdris would have been better fitted for the 
formulae of ceremony ; but the v ery ease which 
accompanied such actions with her, arising from 
habit, rendered them tedious ; while^ with every 
drawback, Perdita evidently enjoyed her situa- 
tion. She was too full of new ideas to feel much 
pain when we departed ; she took an affectionate 
leave of us, and promised to visit us soon ; but 
she did not regret the circumstances that caused 
our separation. The spirits of Raymond were 
unbounded ; he did not know what to do with 
his new got power ; his head was full of plans ; 
he had as yet decided on none — but he pro- 
mised himself, his friends, and the world, that 
the aera of his Protectorship should be signa- 
lized by some act of surpassing glory. 



%%% THE LAST MAN. 

Thus, we talked of them, and moralized, as 
with diminished numbers we returned to Wind- 
sor Castle. We felt extreme delight at our 
escape from political turmoil, and sought our 
solitude with redoubled zest. We did not want 
for occupation ; but my eager disposition was 
now turned to the field of intellectual exertion 
only ; and hard study I found to be an excellent 
medicine to allay a fever of spirit vath which in 
indolence, I should doubtless have been assailed. 
Perdita had permitted us to take Clara back 
with us to Windsor ; and she and my two lovely 
infants were perpetual sources of interest and 
amusement. 

; The only circumstance that disturbed our 
peace, was the health of Adrian. It evidently 
declined, without any symptom which could 
lead us to suspect his disease, unless indeed his 
brightened eyes, animated look, and flustering 
cheeks, made us dread consumption ; but he was 
without pain or fear. He betook himself to 
books with ardour, and reposed from study in 



THE LAST MAN. 22S 

the society he best loved, that of his sister and 
myself- Sometimes he went up to London to 
vi^t Kaymond, and watch the progress of events. 
Clara often accompanied him in these excursions ; 
partly that she might see her parents, partly 
because Adrian delighted in the prattle, and 
intelligent looks of this lovely cliild. 

Meanwhile all went on well in London. The 
new elections were finished ; parliament met, and 
Raymond was occupied in a thousand beneficial 
schemes. Canals, aqueducts, bridges, stately 
buildings, and various edifices for public utihty, 
were entered upon ; he was continually sur- 
rounded by projectors and projects, which were to 
render England one scene of fertility and magni- 
ficence ; the state of poverty was to be abohshed ; 
men were to be transported from place to place 
almost with the same facility as the Princes Hous- 
sain, Ali, and Ahmed, in the Arabian Nights. 
The physical state of man would soon not yield 
to the beatitude of angels ; disease was to be ba- 
nished; labour lightened of its heaviest burden. 



224 THE LAST MAN. 

Nor did this seem extravagant. The arts of 
life, and the discoveries of science had aug- 
mented in a ratio which left all calculation be- 
hind ; food sprung up, so to say, spontaneously 
— machines existed to supply with facility every 
want of the population. An evil direction still 
survived ; and men were not happy, not because 
they could not, but because they would not 
rouse themselves to vanquish self-raised obsta- 
cles. Raymond was to inspire them with his 
beneficial will, and the mechanism of society, 
once systematised according to faultless rules, 
would never again swerve into disorder. For 
these hopes he abandoned his long- cherished 
ambition of being enregistered in the annals of 
nations as a successful warrior ; laying aside his 
sword, peace and its enduring glories became 
his aim — the title he coveted was that of the 
benefactor of his country. 

Among other works of art in which he was 
engaged, he had projected the erection of a 
national gallery for statues and pictures. He 



THE LAST MAX. 225 

possessed many himself, which he designed to 
present to the Republic ; and, as the edifice was 
to be the great ornament of his Protectorship, 
he was very fastidious in his choice of the plan 
on which it would be buih. Hundreds were 
brought to him and rejected. He sent even 
to Italy and Greece for drawings ; but, as the 
design was to be characterized by originality 
as well as by perfect beauty, his endeavours 
were for a time without avail. At leno^th a 
drawing came, with an address where commu- 
nications might be sent, and no artist's name 
affixed. The design was new and elegant, but 
faulty ; so faulty, that although drawn with 
the hand and eye of taste, it was evidently the 
work of one who was not an architect. Ray- 
mond contemplated it with delight ; the more 
he gazed, the more pleased he was ; and yet the 
errors multiplied • under inspection. He wrote 
to the address given, desiring to see the 
draughtsman, that such alterations might be 
l3 



9S6 THE LAST MAX- 

made, as should be suggested in a consultation 
between him and the original conceiver, 

A Greek came. A middle-aged man, with 
some intelligence of manner, but with so com- 
mon-place a physiognomy, that Raymond could 
scarcely beheve that he was the designer. 
He acknowledged that he was not an architect ; 
but the idea of the building had struck him, 
though he had sent it without the smallest hope 
of its being accepted. He was a man of few 
words. Raymond questioned him ; but his re- 
served answers soon made him turn from the 
man to the drawing. He pointed out the errors, 
and the alterations that he wished to be made ; 
he offered the Greek a pencil that he might 
correct the sketch on the spot ; this was refused 
by his visitor, who said that he perfectly un- 
derstood, and would work at it at home. At 
length Raymond suffered him to depart. 

The next day he returned. The design had 
been re-drawn ; but many defects still remained, 



THE LAST MAN, S27 

and several of the instructions given had been 
misunderstood '' Come,' said Raymond, *' I 
yielded to you yesterdav, now comply with my 
request — take the pencil." 

The Greek took it, but he handled it in no 
artist^like way ; at length he said : " I must 
confess to you, my Lord, that I did not make 
this drawing. It is impossible for you to see 
the real designer ; your instructions must pass 
through me. Condescend therefore to have 
patience with my ignorance, and to explain your 
wishes to me ; in time I am certain that you will 
be satisfied." 

Raymond questioned vainly ; the mysterious 
Greek would say no more. Would an archi- 
tect be permitted to see the artist ? This also 
was refused. Raymond repeated his instruc- 
tions, and the visitor retired. Our friend re- 
solved however not to be foiled in his wish. 
He suspected, that unaccustomed poverty was 
the cause of the mystery, and that the artist 
was unwilling to oe seen m tne garo ana aoode 



^28 ITHE LASt MAa^ 

of want. Raymond was only the more excited 
by this consideration to discover him ; impelled 
by the interest he took in obscure talent, he there- 
fore ordered a person skilled in such matters, to 
follow the Greek the next time he came, and 
observe the house in which he should enter. 
His emissary obeyed, and brought the desired 
intelligence. He had traced the man to one of 
the most penurious streets in the metropolis. 
Raymond did not wonder, that, thus situated, 
the artist had shrunk from notice, but he did 
not for this alter his resolve. 

On the same evenings he went alone to the 
house named to him. Poverty, dirt, and squalid 
misery characterized its appearance. Alas I 
thought Raymond, I have much to do before 
England becomes a Paradise. He knocked; 
the door was opened by a string from above — 
the broken, wretched staircase was immediately 
before him, but no person appeared ; he 
knocked again, vainly— and then, impatient of 
further delay, he ascended the dark, creaking 



THE LAST MAN 

Stairs. His main wish, more particularly now 
that he witnessed the abject dwelling of the 
artist, was to relieve one, possessed of talent, but 
depressed by want. He pictured to himself a 
youth, whose eyes sparkled with genius, whose 
person was attenuated by famine. He half 
feared to displease him ; but he trusted that his 
generous kindness would be administered so 
delicately, as not to excite repulse. What hu- 
man heart is shut to kindness.'' and though 
poverty, in its excess, might render the sufferer 
unapt to submit to the supposed degradation 
of a benefit, the zeal of the benefactor must at 
last relax him into thankfulness. These thouo:hts 
encouraged Raymond, as he stood at the door 
of the highest room of the house. After trying 
vainly to enter the other apartments, he per- 
ceived just within the threshold of this one, 
a pair of small Turkish slippers ; the door was 
ajar, but all was silent within. It was probable 
that the inmate was absent, but secure that he 
had found the right person, our adventurous 



THE LAST MAN. 

Protector was tempted to enter, to leave a purse 
on the table, and silently depart. In pursuance 
of this idea, he pushed open the door gently — 
but the room was inhabited. 

Raymond had never visited the dwellinors of 
want, and the scene that now presented itself 
struck him to the heart. The floor was sunk in 
many places ; the walls ragged and bare — the 
ceiling weather-stained — a tattered bed stood in 
the corner ; there were but two chairs in the 
room, and a rough broken table, on which was 
a light in a tin candlestick ; — yet in the midst of 
such drear and heart sickening poverty, there was 
an air of order and cleanliness that surprised 
him. The thought was fleeting ; for his atten- 
tion was instantly drawn towards the inhabitant 
of this wretched abode. It was a female. She 
sat at the table ; one small hand shaded her eyes 
from the candle ; the other held a pencil ; her 
looks were fixed on a drawing before her, which 
Raymond recognized as the design presented to 
him. Her whole appearance awakened his 



THE LAST MAN. S31 

deepest interest. Her dark hair was braided 
and twined in thick knots like the head-dress 
of a Grecian statue ; her garb was mean, but 
her attitude might have been selected as a model 
of grace. Raymond had a confused remem- 
brance that he had seen such a form before ; he 
walked across the room ; she did not raise her 
eyes, merely asking in Romaic, who is there ? 
" A friend," replied Raymond in the same dia- 
ect. She looked up wondei'ing, and he saw 
that it was Evadne Zaimi. Evadne, once the 
idol of Adrian's affections ; and who, for the sake 
of her present visitor, had disdained the noble 
youth, and then, neglected by him she loved, 
with crushed hopes and a stinging sense of misery, 
had returned to her native Greece. What revo- 
lution of fortune could have brouo^ht her to 
England, and housed her thus P 

Raymond recognized her ; and his manner 
changed from polite beneficence to the warmest 
protestations of kindness and sympathy. The 
sight of her, in her present situation, passed like 



232 THE LAST MAN. 

an arrow into his soul. He sat by her, he took 
her hand, and said a thousand things which 
breathed the deepest spirit of compassion and 
affection. Evadne did not answer ; her large 
dark eyes were cast down, at length a tear glim- 
mered on the lashes. " Thus," she cried, 
*' kindness can do, what no want, no misery ever 
effected ; I weep." She shed indeed many tears ; 
her head sunk unconsciously on the shoulder of 
Raymond ; he held her hand : he kissed her 
sunken tear-stained cheek. He told her, that 
her sufferings were now over : no one possessed 
the art of consoling like Raymond ; he did not 
reason or declaim, but his look shone with 
sympathy; he brought pleasant images before 
the sufferer ; his caresses excited no distrust, for 
they arose purely from the feeling which leads 
a mother to kiss her wounded child ; a desire 
to demonstrate in every possible way the truth 
of his feelings, and the keenness of his wish to 
pour balm into the lacerated mind of the unfor- 
tunate. 



THE LAST MA^^ 235 

As Evadne regained her composure, his 
manner became even gay ; he sported with the 
idea of her poverty. Something told him that 
it was not its real evils that lay heavily at her 
heart, but the debasement and disgrace attendant 
on it ; as he talked, he divested it of these ; 
sometimes speaking of her fortitude with ener- 
getic praise ; then, alluding to her past state, he 
called her his Princess in disguise. He made her 
warm oflPers of service ; she was too much occupied 
by more engrossing thoughts, either to accept 
or reject them ; at length he left her, making a 
promise to repeat his visit the next day. He 
returned home, full of mingled feelings, of pain 
excited by Evadne's wretchedness, and pleasure 
at the prospect of reheving it. Some motive for 
which he did not account, even to himself, pre- 
vented him from relating his adventure to Per- 
dita. 

The next day he threw such disguise over 
his person as a cloak afforded, and revisited 
Evadne. As he went, he bought a basket of 



THE LAST MAN. 

costly fruits, such as were natives of her own 
country, and throwing over these various beau- 
tiful flowers, bore it himself to the miserable 
garret of his friend. " Behold," cried he, as he 
entered, " what bird's food 1 have brought for 
my sparrow on the house-top." 

Evadne now related the tale of her misfortunes. 
Her father, though of high rank, had in the end 
dissipated his fortune, and even destroyed his 
reputation and influence through a course of 
dissolute indulgence. His health was impaired 
beyond hope of cure ; and it became his 
earnest wish, before he died, to preserve his 
daughter from the poverty which would be the 
portion of her orphan state. He therefore 
accepted for her, and persuaded her to accede 
to, a proposal of marriage, from a wealthy 
Greek merchant settled at Constantinople. She 
quitted her native Greece ; her father died ; by 
degrees she was cut off* from all the companions 
and ties of her youth. 

The war, which about a year before the pre- 



THE LAST MAN. 235 

sent time had broken out between Greece and 
Turkey, brought about many reverses of fortune. 
Her husband became bankrupt, and then in a tu- 
mult and threatened massacre on the part of the 
Turks, they were obliged to fly at midnight, 
and reached in an open boat an English vessel 
under sail, which brought them immediately to 
this island. The few jewels they had saved, 
supported them awhile. The whole strength of 
Evadne's mind was exerted to support the 
failing spirits of her husband. Loss of pro- 
perty, hopelessness as to his future prospects, 
the inoccupation to which poverty condemned 
him, combined to reduce him to a state border- 
ing on insanity. Five months after their ar- 
rival in England, he committed suicide. 

" You will ask me, '"' continued Evadne, 
'' what I have done since ; why I have not 
applied for succour to the rich Greeks resident 
here ; why I have not returned to my native 
country ? My answer to these questions must 
needs appear to you unsatisfactory, yet they 



236 THE Last man. 

have sufficed to lead me on, day after day, en^ 
during every wretchedness, rather than by such 
means to seek relief. Shall the daughter of 
the noble, though prodigal Zaimi, appear a 
beggar before her compeers or inferiors — supe- 
riors she had none. Shall 1 bow my head 
before them, and with servile gesture sell my 
nobility for life ? Had I a child, or any tie to 
bind me to existence, I might descend to this — 
but, as it is — the world has been to me a harsh 
step-mother ; fain would I leave the abode she 
seems to grudge, and in the grave forget my 
pride, my struggles, my despair. The time 
will soon come ; grief and famine have already 
sapped the foundations of my being; a very 
short time, and I shall have passed away ; un- 
stained by the crime of self-destruction, unstung 
by the memory of degradation, my spirit will 
throw aside this miserable coil, and find such 
recompense as fortitude and resignation may 
deserve. This may seem madness to you, yet 
you also have pride and resolution ; do not then 



THE LAST MAN. 237 

wonder that my pride is tameless, my resolution 
unalterable." 

Having thus finished her tale, and given such 
an account as she deemed fit, of the motives of 
her abstaining from all endeavour to obtain aid 
from her countrymen, Evadne paused ; yet she 
seemed to have more to say, to which she was 
unable to give words. In the mean time Ray- 
mond was eloquent. His desire of restoring his 
lovely friend to her rank in society, and to her lost 
prosperity, animated him, and he poured forth 
with energy, all his wishes and intentions on 
that subject. But he was checked ; Evadne ex- 
acted a promise, that he should conceal from all 
her friends her existence in England. *' The 
relatives of the Earl of Windsor," said she 
haughtily, " doubtless think that I injured him ; 
perhaps the Earl himself would be the first to 
acquit me, but probably I do not deserve ac- 
quittal. I acted then, as I ever must, from 
impulse. This abode of penury may at least 
prove the disinterestedness of my conduct. No 



THE LAST MAN. 

matter : I do not wish to plead my cause before 
any of them, not even before your Lordship, 
had you not first discovered me. The tenor of 
my actions will prove that I had rather die, than 
be a mark for scorn — ^behold the proud Evadne 
in her tatters ! look on the beggar-princess ! 
There is aspic venom in the thought — pro- 
mise me that my secret shall not be violated by 
you." 

Raymond promised ; but then a new discus- 
sion ensued. Evadne required another engage- 
ment on his part, that he would not without 
her concurrence enter into any project for her 
benefit, nor himself oifer relief. " Do not de- 
grade me in my own eyes," she said; '' poverty 
has long been my nurse ; hardvisaged she is, 
but honest. If dishonour, or what I conceive 
to be dishonour, come near me, I am lost." 
Raymond adduced many arguments and fervent 
persuasions to overcome her feeling, but she 
remained unconvinced ; and, agitated by the dis- 
cussion, she wildly and passionately made a so- 



THE LAST MAX. 239 

lemn vow, to fly and hide herself where he never 
could discover her, where famine would soon 
bring death to conclude her woes, if he per- 
sisted in his to her disgracing offers. She could 
support herself, she said. And then she shewed 
him how, by executing various designs and 
paintings, she earned a pittance for her support. 
Raymond yielded for the present. He felt as- 
sured, after he had for awhile humoured her 
self-will, that in the end friendship and reason 
would gain the day. 

But the feelings that actuated Evadne were 
rooted in the depths of her being, and were 
such in their growth as he had no means of 
understanding. Evadne loved Raymond. He 
was the hero of her imagination, the image 
carved by love in the unchanged texture of her 
heart. Seven years ago, in her youthful prime, 
bhe had become attached to him ; he had served 
her country against the Turks ; he had in her 
own land acquired that military glory peculiarly 
dear to the Greeks, since they were still obliged 



240 THE LAST MAN. 

inch by inch to fight for their security. Yet 
when he returned thence, and first appeared in 
public hfe in England, her love did not pur- 
chase his, which then vacillated between Perdita 
and a crown. While he was yet undecided, 
she had quitted England ; the news of his mar- 
riage reached her, and her hopes, poorly nur- 
tured blossoms, withered and fell. The glory 
of life was gone for her ; the roseate halo of 
love, which had imbued every object with its 
own colour, faded ; — she was content to take 
life as it was, and to make the best of leaden- 
coloured reality. She married ; and, carrying 
her restless energy of character with her into 
new scenes, she turned her thoughts to ambi- 
tion, and aimed at the title and power of Prin- 
cess of Wallachia ; while her patriotic feelings 
were soothed by the idea of the good she might 
do her country, when her husband should be 
chief of this principality. She lived to find 
ambition, as unreal a delusion as love. Her in- 
trigues with Russia for the furtherance of her 



THE LAST MAN. 24i 

object, excited the jealousy of the Porte, and 
the animosity of the Greek government. She 
was considered a traitor by both, the ruin of 
her husband followed ; they avoided death by a 
timely flight, and she fell from the height of 
her desires to penury in England. J\luch of 
this tale she concealed from Raymond ; nor did 
she confess, that repulse and denial, as to a cri- 
minal convicted of the worst of crimes, that of 
bringing the scythe of foreign despotism to cut 
away the new springing liberties of her country, 
would have followed her application to any 
among the Greeks. 

She knew that she was the cause of her hus- 
band's utter ruin ; and she strung herself to bear 
the consequences. The reproaches which agony 
extorted ; or worse, cureless, uncomplaining de- 
pression, when his mind was sunk in a torpor, not 
the less painful because it was silent and move- 
less. She reproached herself with the crime of 
his death ; guilt and its punishments appeared to 

VOL. I. M 



THE LAST MAN. 

surround her ; in vain she endeavoured to allay 
remorse by the memory of her real integrity ; 
the rest of the world, and she among them, 
judged of her actions, by their consequences. 
She prayed for her husband's soul ; she con- 
jured the Supreme to place on her head the 
crime of his self-destruction — she vowed to live 
to expiate his fault. 

In the midst of such wretchedness as must 
soon have destroyed her, one thought only was 
matter of consolation. She lived in the same 
country, breathed the same air as Raymond. 
His name as Protector was the burthen of every 
tongue ; his achievements, projects, and magni- 
ficence, the argument of every story. Nothing 
is so precious to a woman's heart as the glory 
and excellence of him she loves ; thus in every 
horror Evadne revelled in his fame and pros- 
perity. While her husband lived, this feeling 
was regarded by her as a crime, repressed, re- 
pented of. When he died, the tide of love 



THE LAST MAN. 243 

resumed its ancient flow, it deluged her soul 
with its tumultuous waves, and she gave herself 
up a prey to its uncontrollable power. 

But never, O, never, should he see her in her 
degraded state. Never should he behold her 
fallen, as she deemed, from her pride of beauty, 
the poverty-stricken inhabitant of a garret, with a 
name which had become a reproach, and a weight 
of guilt on her soul. But though impenetrably 
veiled from him, his public office permitted her 
to become acquainted with all his actions, his 
daily course of life, even his conversation. She 
allowed herself one luxury, she saw the news- 
papers every day, and feasted on the praise and 
actions of the Protector. Not that this indul- 
gence was devoid of accompanying grief. Per- 
dita's name was for ever joined with his ; their 
conjugal felicity was celebrated even by the au- 
thentic testimony of facts. They were con- 
tinually together, nor could the unfortunate 
Evadne read the monosyllable that designated 
his name, without, at the same time, being pre- 
M 2 



244 THE LAST MAN. 

sented with the image of her who was the faith- 
ful companion of all his labours and pleasures. 
They, their Excellencies, met her eyes in each 
line, mingling an evil potion that poisoned her 
very blood. 

It was in the newspaper that she saw the ad- 
vertisement for the design for a national gallery. 
CombinincT with taste her remembrance of the 

o 

edifices which she had seen in the east, and by 
an effort of genius enduing them with unity of 
design, she executed the plan which had been 
sent to the Protector. She triumphed in the 
idea of bestowing, unknown and forgotten as 
she was, a benefit upon him she loved : and with 
enthusiastic pride looked forward to the accom- 
plishment of a work of hers, which, immortalized 
in stone, would go down to posterity stamped 
with the name of Raymond. She awaited with 
eagerness the return of her messenger from the 
palace ; she listened insatiate to his account of 
each word, each look of the Protector ; she felt 
bliss in this communication with her beloved. 



THE LAST MAN. 245 

although he knew not to whom he addressed his 
instructions. The drawing itself became in- 
effably dear to her. He had seen it, and praised 
it ; it was again retouched by her, each stroke 
of her pencil was as a chord of thrilling music, 
and bore to her the idea of a temple raised to 
celebrate the deepest and most unutterable emo- 
tions of her soul. These contemplations en- 
gaged her, when the voice of Raymond first 
struck her ear, a voice, once heard, never to be 
forgotten ; she mastered her gush of feelings, 
and welcomed him with quiet gentleness. 

Pride and tenderness now struggled, and at 
length made a compromise together. She 
would see Raymond, shice destiny had led him 
to her, and her constancy and devotion must 
merit his friendship. But her rights with re- 
gard to him, and her cherished independence, 
should not be injured by the idea of interest, or 
the intervention of the complicated feelings at- 
tendant on pecuniary obligation, and the rela- 
tive situations of the benefactor, and benefited. 



THE LAST MAN. 



Her mind was uncommon strength; she 
could subdue her sensible wants to her mental 
wishes, and suffer cold, hunger and misery, 
rather than concede to fortune a contested point. 
Alas I that in human nature such a pitch of 
mental discipline, and disdainful negligence of 
nature itself, should not have been allied to the 
extreme of moral excellence ! But the resolution 
that permitted her to resist the pains of privation, 
sprung from the too great energy of her pas- 
sions; and the concentrated self-will of which this 
was a sign, was destined to destroy even the 
very idol, to preserve whose respect she sub- 
mitted to this detail of wretchedness. 

Their intercourse continued. By degrees 
Evadne related to her friend the whole of her 
story, the stain her name had received in Greece, 
the weight of sin which had accrued to her from 
the death of her husband. When Raymond 
offered to clear her reputation, and demonstrate 
to the world her real patriotism, she declared 
that it was only through her present sufferings 



THE LAST MAX. 247 

that she hoped for any relief to the stings of 
conscience ; that, in her state of mind, diseased 
as he might think it, the necessity of occupation 
was salutary medicine ; she ended by extorting 
a promise that for the space of one month he 
would refrain from the discussion of her in- 
terests, engaging after that time to yield in 
part to his wishes. She could not disguise to 
herself that any change would separate her from 
him ; now she saw him each day. His connec- 
tion with Adrian and Perdita was never men- 
tioned ; he was to her a meteor, a companionless 
star, which at its appointed hour rose in her 
hemisphere, whose appearance brought felicity, 
and which, although it set, was never eclipsed. 
He came each day to her abode of penury, and 
his presence transformed it to a temple redolent 
with sweets, radiant with heaven's own light ; 
he partook of her delirium. '' They built a 
wall between them and the world" With- 
out, a thousand harpies raved, remorse and 
misery, expecting the destined moment for 



248 THE LAST MAX. 

their invasion. Within, was the peace as of in- 
nocence, reckless bhndless, deluding joy, hope, 
whose still anchor rested on placid but uncon- 
stant water. 

Thus, while Raymond had been wrapt in 
visions of power and fame, while he looked 
forward to entire dominion over the elements 
and the mind of man, the territory of his own 
heart escaped his notice ; and from that un- 
thought of source arose the mighty torrent that 
overwhelmed his will, and carried to the obli- 
vious sea, fame, hope, and happiness. 



THE LAST MAN. 249 



CHAPTER YIII. 

In the mean time what did Perdita ? 

During the first months of his Protectorate, 
Raymond and she had been inseparable ; each 
project was discussed with her, each plan ap- 
proved by her. I never beheld any one so per- 
fectly happy as my sweet sister. Her expres- 
sive eyes were two stars whose beams were love ; 
hope and light-heartedness sat on her cloudless 
brow. She fed even to tears of joy on the praise 
and glory of her Lord ; her whole existence was 
one sacrifice to him, and if in the humility of 
her heart she felt self-complacency, it arose from 
the reflection that she had won the distinguished 
hero of the age, and had for years preserved liim, 
m3 



^50 THE LAST MAN. 

even after time had taken from love its usual 
nourishment. Her own feeling was as entire as 
at its birth. Five years had failed to destroy 
the dazzling unreality of passion. Most men 
ruthlessly destroy the sacred veil, with which the 
female heart is wont to adorn the idol of its 
affections. Not so Raymond; he was an en- 
chanter, whose reign was for ever undiminished ; 
a king whose power never was suspended : fol- 
low him through the details of common life, 
still the same charm of grace and majesty 
adorned him ; nor could he be despoiled of the 
innate deification with which nature had in- 
vested him. Perdita grew in beauty and excel- 
lence under his eye ; I no longer recognised my 
reserved abstracted sister in the fascinating and 
open-hearted wife of Raymond. The genius 
that enlightened her countenance, was now 
united to an expression of benevolence, which 
gave divine perfection to her beauty. 

Happiness is in its highest degree the sister of 
goodness. Suffering and amiability may exist 



THE LAST MAN. 



251 



together, and writers have loved to depict their 
conjunction; there is a human and touching 
harmony in the picture. But perfect happiness 
is an attribute of angels ; and those who possess 
it, appear angelic. Fear has been said to be 
the parent of rehgion : even of that religion is it 
the generator, which leads its votaries to sacrifice 
human victims at its altars; but the religion 
which springs from happiness is a lovelier 
growth ; the religion which makes the heart 
breathe forth fervent thanksgiving, and causes 
us to pour out the overflowings of the soul be- 
fore the author of our being ; that which is the 
parent of the imagination and the nurse of 
poetry; that which bestows benevolent intelli- 
gence on the visible mechanism of the world, 
and makes earth a temple with heaven for its 
cope. Such happiness, goodness, and religion 
inhabited the mind of Perdita. 

During the five years we had spent together, 
a knot of happy human beings at Windsor 
Castle, her blissful lot had been the frequent 



252 THE LAST MAN. 

theme of my sister's conversation. From early 
habit, and natural affection, she selected me in 
preference to Adi'ian or Idris, to be the partner 
in her overflowings of delight ; perhaps, though 
apparently much unlike, some secret point of 
resemblance, the offspring of consanguinity, in- 
duced this preference. Often at sunset, 1 have 
walked with her, in the sober, enshadowed 
forest paths, and listened with joyful sympathy. 
Security gave dignity to her passion ; the cer- 
tainty of a full return, left her with no wish un- 
fulfilled. The birth of her daughter, embryo 
copy of her Raymond, filled up the measure of 
her content, and produced a sacred and indisso- 
luble tie between them. Sometimes she felt 
proud that he had preferred her to the hopes of 
a crown. Sometimes she remembered that she 
had suffered keen anguish, when he hesitated in 
his choice. But this memory of past discontent 
only served to enhance her present joy. What 
had been hardly won, was now, entirely pos- 
sessed, doubly dear. She would look at him at 



THE LAST MAN. 253 

a distance with the same rapture, (O, far more 
exuberant rapture !) that one might feel, who 
after the perils of a tempest, should find him- 
self in the desired port ; she would hasten to- 
wards him, to feel more certain in his arms, the 
reality of her bliss. This warmth of affection, 
added to the depth of her understanding, and 
the brilliancy of her imagination, made her 
beyond words dear to Raymond. 

If a feeling of dissatisfaction ever crossed 
her, it arose from the idea that he was not per- 
fectly happy. Desire of renovv n, and presump- 
tuous ambition, had characterized his youth. 
The one he had acquired in Greece ; the other 
he had sacrificed to love. His intellect found 
sufficient field for exercise in his domestic circle, 
whose members, all adorned by refinement and 
literature, were many of them, like himself, 
distinguished by genius. Yet active life was 
the genuine soil for his virtues ; and he some- 
times suffered tedium from the monotonous suc- 
<'^ssion of events in our retirement. Prid<* 



254 THE LAST MAN. 

made him recoil from complaint ; and gratitude 
and affection to Perdita, generally acted as an 
opiate to all desire, save that of meriting her 
love. We all observed the visitation of these 
feelings, and none regretted them so much as 
Perdita. Her life consecrated to him, was a 
slight sacrifice to reward his choice, but was not 
that sufficient — Did he need any gratification 
that she was unable to bestow ? This was 
the only cloud in the azure of her happi- 
ness. 

His passage to power had been full of pain 
to both. He however attained his wish ; he 
filled the situation for which nature seemed to 
have moulded him. His activity was fed in 
wholesome measure, without either exhaustion or 
satiety ; his taste and genius found worthy ex- 
pression in each of the modes human beings 
have invented to encage and manifest the spirit 
of beauty ; the goodness of his heart made him 
never weary of conducing to the well-being of 
his fellow-creatures ; his magnificent spirit, and 



THE LAST MAN. 255 

aspirations for the respect and love of mankind, 
now received fruition ; true, his exaltation was 
temporary ; perhaps it were better that it should 
be so. Habit would not dull his sense of the 
enjoyment of power ; nor struggles, disappoint- 
ment and defeat await the end of that which 
would expire at its maturity. He determined 
to extract and condense all of glory, power, and 
achievement, which might have resulted from a 
long reign, into the three years of his Protec- 
torate. 

Raymond was eminently social. All that he 
now enjoyed would have been devoid of plea- 
sure to him, had it been unparticipated. But 
in Perdita he possessed all that his heart could 
desire. Her love gave birth to sympathy ; her 
intelligence made her understand him at a word; 
her powers of intellect enabled her to assist and 
guide him. He felt her worth. During the 
early years of their union, the inequality of her 
temper, and yet unsubdued self-will which tar- 
nished her character, had been a slight draw* 



256 THE LAST MAX. 

back to the fulness of his sentiment. Now that 
unchanged serenity, and gentle compliance 
were added to her other qualifications, his re- 
spect equalled his love. Years added to the 
strictness of their union. They did not now 
guess at, and totter on the pathway, divining 
the mode to please, hoping, yet fearing the con- 
tinuance of bliss. Five years gave a sober cer- 
tainty to their emotions, though it did not rob 
them of their etherial nature. It bad given 
them a child ; but it had not detracted from the 
personal attractions of my sister. Timidity, 
which in her had almost amounted to awkward- 
ness, was exchanged for a graceful decision of 
manner ; frankness, instead of reserve, charac- 
terized her physiognomy ; and her voice was 
attuned to thrilling softness. She was now 
three and t wenty, in the pride of womanhood, 
fulfilling the precious duties of wife and mother, 
possessed of all her heart had ever coveted. 
Raymond was ten years older ; to his previous 
beauty, noble mien, and commanding aspect, 



THE LAST MAN. ^57 

he now added gentlest benevolence, winning 
tenderness, graceful and unwearied attention to 
the wishes of another. 

The first secret that had existed between them 
was the visits of Raymond to Evadne. He had 
been struck by the fortitude and beauty of the 
ill-fated Greek ; and, when her constant tender- 
ness towards him unfolded itself, he asked with 
astonishment, by what act of his he had merited 
this passionate and unrequited love. She was 
for a while the sole object of his reveries ; and 
Perdita became aware that his thoughts and 
time were bestowed on a subject unparticipated 
by her. My sister was by nature destitute of 
the common feelings of anxious, petulant jea- 
lousy. The treasure which she possessed in 
the affections of Raymond, was more necessary 
to her being, than the life-blood that animated 
her veins — more truly than Othello she might 
say, 

To be once in doubt. 
Is — once to be resolved. 



^8 THE LAST MAN. 

On the present occasion she did not suspect any 
alienation of affection ; but she conjectured that 
some circumstance connected with his high 
place, had occasioned this mystery. She was 
startled and pained. She began to count the 
long days, and months, and years which must 
elapse, before he would be restored to a private 
station, and unreservedly to her. She was not 
content that, even for a time, he should practice 
concealment with her. She often repined ; but 
her trust in the singleness of his affection was 
undisturbed ; and, when they were together, 
unchecked by fear, she opened her heart to the 
fullest delight. 

Time went on. Raymond, stopping mid- way 
in his wild career, paused suddenly to think of 
consequences. Two results presented them- 
selves in the view he took of the future. That 
his intercourse with Evadne should continue a 
secret to, or that finally it should be discovered 
by Perdita. The destitute condition, and highly 
wrought feelings of his friend prevented him 



THE LAST MAN. ^59 

from adverting to the possibility of exiling him- 
self from her. In the first event he had bidden 
an eternal farewell to open-hearted converse, and 
entire sympathy with the companion of his life. 
The veil must be thicker than that invented by 
Turkish jealousy ; the wall higher than the un- 
scaleable tower of Vathek, which should conceal 
from her the workings of his heart, and hide 
from her view the secret of his actions. This 
idea was intolerably painful to him. Frankness 
and social feelings were the essence of Raymond's 
nature; without them his qualities became com- 
mon-place; without these to spread glory over 
his intercourse with Perdita, his vaunted ex- 
change of a throne for her love, was as w^eak 
and empty as the rainbow hues which vanish 
when the sun is down. But there was no re- 
medy. Genius, devotion, and courage; the 
adornments of his mind, and the energies of his 
soul, all exerted to their uttermost stretch, could 
not roll back onehair's breadth the wheel of time's 
chariot ; that which had been was written with 



260 THE LAST MAN. 

the adamantine pen of reality, on the everlasting 
volume of the past ; nor couid agony and tears 
suffice to wash out one iota from the act ful- 
filled. 

But this was the best side of the question. 
What, if circumstance should lead Perdita to 
suspect, and suspecting to be resolved ? The 
fibres of his frame became relaxed, and cold 
dew stood on his forehead, at this idea. Many 
men may scoff at his dread ; but he read the 
future ; and the peace of Perdita was too dear 
to him, her speechless agony too certain, and 
too fearful, not to unman him. His course was 
speedily decided upon. If the worst befell; if 
she learnt the truth, he would neither stand her 
reproaches, or the anguish of her altered looks. 
He would forsake her, England, his friends, 
the scenes of his youth, the hopes of coming 
time, he w^ould seek another country, and in 
other scenes begin life again. Having resolved 
on this, he became calmer. He endeavoured to 
guide with prudence the steeds of destiny through 



THE LAST MAN. 261 

the devious road which he had chosen, and bent 
all his efforts the better to conceal what he could 
not alter. 

The perfect confidence that subsisted between 
Perdita and him, rendered every communication 
common between them. They opened each 
other's letters, even as, until now, the inmost fold 
of the heart of each w^as disclosed to the other. 
A letter came unawares, Perdita read it. Had 
it contained confirmation, she must have been 
annihilated. As it Avas, trembHng, cold, and 
palcj she sought Raymond. He was alone, 
examining some petitions lately presented. She 
entered silently, sat on a sofa opposite to him, 
and gazed on him with a look of such despair, 
that wildest shrieks and dire moans would have 
been tame exhibitions of misery, compared to 
the living incarnation of the thing itself exhibited 
by her. 

At first he did not take his eyes from the 
papers ; when he raised them, he was struck by 



262 THE LAST MAN. 

the wretchedness manifest on her altered cheek ; 
for a moment he forgot his own acts and fears, 
and asked with consternation — '' Dearest girl, 
what is the matter ; what has happened ?" 

" Nothing," she replied at first ; " and yet 
not so," she continued, hurrying on in her 
speech; " you have secrets, Raymond; where 
have you been lately, whom have you seen, 
what do you conceal from me ? — why am I 
banished from your confidence ? Yet this is 
not it — I do not intend to entrap you with 
questions — one will suffice — am I completely a 
wretch ?" 

With trembling hand she gave him the paper, 
and sat white and motionless looking at him 
while he read it. He recognised the hand-TVTit- 
ing of Evadne, and the colour mounted in his 
cheeks. With lightning-speed he conceived the 
contents of the letter ; all was now cast on one 
die ; falsehood and artifice were trifles in com- 
parison with the impending ruin. He would 



THE LAST MAN. 263 

either entirely dispel Perdita's suspicions, or 
quit her for ever. " My dear girl," he said, 
" I have been to blame ; but you must pardon 
me. I was in the wrong to commence a system 
of concealment ; but I did it for the sake of 
sparing you pain ; and each day has rendered it 
more difficult for me to alter my plan. Besides, 
I was instigated by delicacy towards the un- 
happy writer of these few lines." 

Perdita gasped : " Well," she cried, " well, 
go on !" 

** That is all — this paper tells all. I am 
placed in the most difficult circumstances. I 
have done my best, though perhaps I have done 
wrong. My love for you is inviolate." 

Perdita shook her head doubtingly : " It can- 
not be," she cried, " I know that it is not. 
You would deceive me, but I will not be de- 
ceived. I have lost you, myself, my life !" 

" Do you not believe me ?" said Raymond 
haughtily. 

" To believe you," she exclaimed, '* I would 



264 THE LAST MAN. 

give up all, and expire with joy, so that in 
death I could feel that you were [true — but that 
cannot be !"" 

" Perdita," continued Raymond, " you do 
not see the precipice on which you stand. You 
may believe that I did not enter on my present 
line of conduct without reluctance and pain. 
I knew that it was possible that your suspicions 
might be excited ; but I trusted that my simple 
word would cause them to disappear. I built 
my hope on your confidence. Do you think 
that I will be questioned, and my replies dis- 
dainfully set aside ? Do you think that I will 
be suspected, perhaps watched, cross -ques- 
tioned, and disbelieved ? I am not yet fallen 
so low; my honour is not yet so tarnished. 
You have loved me; I adored you. But all 
human sentiments come to an end. Let our 
afPection expire — but let it not be exchanged for 
distrust and recrimination. Heretofore we have 
been friends — lovers — let us not become ene- 
mies, mutual spies. I cannot live the object 



THE LAST MAX. ^65 

of suspicion — you cannot believe me — let us 
part !" 

" Exactly so," cried Perdita, " I knew that 
it would come to this ! Are we not already 
parted ? Does not a stream, boiuidless as ocean, 
deep as vacuum, yawn between us ?" 

Raymond rose, his voice was broken, his 
features convulsed^ his manner calm as the earth- 
quake-cradhng atmosphere, he replied : "I am 
rejoiced that you take my decision so philoso- 
phically. Doubtless you will play the part of 
the injured wife to admiration. Sometimes you 
may be stung with the feeling that you have 
wronged me, but the condolence of your rela- 
tives, the pity of the world, the complacency 
which the consciousness of your own immaculate 
innocence will bestow, ^vill be excellent balm ; — 
me you will never see more !" 

Raymond moved towards the door. He for- 
got that each word he spoke was false. He per- 
sonated his assumption of innocence even to 
self-deception. Have not actors wept , as they 
VOL. 1. N 



^66 THE LAST MAN. 

pourtrayed imagined passion ? A more intense 
feeling of the reality of fiction possessed Ray- 
mond. He spoke with pride ; he felt injured. 
Perdita looked up ; she saw his angry glance ; 
his hand was on the lock of the door. She 
started up, she threw herself on his neck, she 
gasped and sobbed; he took her hand, and 
leading her to the sofa, sat down near her. Her 
head fell on his shoulder, she trembled, alter- 
nate changes of fire and ice ran through lier 
limbs: observing her emotion he spoke with 
softened accents: 

" The blow is given. I will not part from 
you in anger ; — I owe you too much. I owe 
you six years of unalloyed happiness. But 
they are passed. I will not live the mark of 
suspicion, the object of jealousy. I love you 
too well. In an eternal separation only can 
either of us hope for dignity and propriety of 
action. We shall not then be degraded from 
our true characters. Faith and devotion have 
hitherto been the essence of our intercourse; — 



THE LAST MAN. 267 

these lost, let us not cling to the seedless husk 
of life, the unkernelled shell. You have your 
child, your brother, Idris, Adrian" 

"■ And you," cried Perdita, " the writer of 
that letter." 

Uncontrollable indignation flashed from the 
eyes of Raymond. He knew that this accusa- 
tion at least was false. " Entertain this belief," 
he cried, " hug it to your heart — make it a pil- 
low to your head, an opiate for your eyes — I 
am content. But, by the God that made me, 
hell is not more false than the word you liave 
spoken !" 

Perdita was struck by the impassioned seri- 
ousness of his asseverations. She replied with 
earnestness, "I do not refuse to believe you, 
Raymond ; on the contrary I promise to put 
imphcit faith in your simple word. Only assure 
me that your love and faith towards me have 
never been violated ; and suspicion, and doubt, 
and jealousy will at once be dispersed. We 



268 THE LAST MAN. 

shall continue as we have ever done, one heart, 
one hope, one hfe." 

" I have already assured you of my fidelity,'' 
said Raymond with disdainful coldness, " triple 
assertions will avail nothing where one is de- 
spised. I will say no more ; for I can add 
nothing to what I have already said, to what 
you before contemptuously set aside. This 
contention is unworthy of both of us ; and I 
confess that I am weary of replying to charges 
at once unfounded and unkind." 

Perdita tried to read his countenance, which 
he angrily averted. There was so much of 
truth and nature in his resentment, that her 
doubts were dispelled. Her countenance, which 
for years had not expressed a feeling unallied to 
affection, became again radiant and satisfied. 
She found it however no easy task to soften and 
reconcile Raymond. At first he refused to stay 
to hear her. But she would not be put off ; 
secure of his unaltered love, she was drilling to 



THE LAST MAN. 269 

undertake any labour, use any entreaty, to 
dispel his anger. She obtained an hearing, he 
sat in haughty silence, but he listened. She 
first assured him of her boundless confidence ; 
of this he must be conscious, since but for that 
she would not seek to detain him. She enu- 
merated their years of happiness ; she brought 
before him past scenes of intimacy and happi- 
ness ; she pictured their future life, she men- 
tioned their child — tears unbidden now filled 
her eyes. She tried to disperse them, but they 
refused to be checked — her utterance was 
choaked. She had not wept before. Raymond 
could not resist these signs of distress : he felt 
perhaps somewhat ashamed of the part he acted 
of the injured man, he who was in truth the 
injurer. And then he devoutly loved Perdita; 
the bend of her head, her glossy ringlets, the 
turn of her form were to him subjects of deep 
tenderness and admiration ; as she spoke, her 
melodious tones entered his soul ; he soon sof- 
tened towards her, comforting and caressing 



S70 THE LAST MAS. 

her, and endeavouring to cheat himself into the 
behef that he had never wronged her. 

Raymond staggered forth from this scene, as 
a man might do, who had been just put to the 
torture, and looked forward to when it would be 
acrain inflicted. He had sinned asrainst his own 
honour, by affirming, swearing to, a direct false- 
hood ; true this he had palmed on a woman, and 
it might therefore be deemed less base — by others 
— not by him; — for whom had he deceived? — 
his own trusting, devoted, affectionate Perdita, 
whose generous belief galled him doubly, when 
he remembered the parade of innocence with 
which it had been exacted. The mind of Ray- 
mond was not so rough cast, nor had been so 
rudely handled, in the circumstance of life, as to 
make him proof to these consideration^ — on the 
contrary, he was all nerve ; his spirit was as a 
pure fire, which fades and shrinks from every 
contagion of foul atmosphere : but now the 
contagion had become incorporated with its es- 
sence, and the change was the more painful. 



THE LAST MAX. S7 1 

Truth and falsehood, love and hate lost their 
eternal boundaries, heaven rushed in to mingle 
with hell; while his sensitive mind, turned to a 
field for such battle, was stung to madness. He 
heartily despised himself, he was angry with 
Perdita, and the idea of Evadne was attended 
by all that was hideous and cruel. His passions, 
always his masters, acquired fresh strength, from 
the long^ sleep in whicli love had cradled them, 
the clinging weight of destiny bent him down ; 
he was goaded, tortured, fiercely impatient of 
that worst of miseries, the sense of remorse. 
This troubled state yielded by degrees, to sul- 
len animosity, and depression of spirits. His 
dependants, even his equals, if in his present 
post he had any, were startled to find anger, 
derision, and bitterness in one, before distin- 
guished for suavity and benevolence of manner. 
He transacted public business with distaste, and 
liastened from it to the solitude which was at 
once his bane and relief. He mounted a fiery 
horse, that which had borne him forward to vie- 



272 THE LAST MAN. 

tory in Greece ; he fatigued himself with dead- 
ening exercise, losing the pangs of a troubled 
mind in animal sensation. 

He slowly recovered himself; yet, at last, as 
one might from the effects of poison, he lifted his 
head from above the vapours of fever and pas- 
sion into the still atmosphere of calm reflection. 
He meditated on what was best to be done. He 
was first struck by the space of time that had 
elapsed, since madness, rather than any reasonable 
impulse, had regulated his actions. A month 
had gone by, and during that time he had not 
seen Evadne. Her power, which was linked to 
few of the enduring emotions of his heart, had 
greatly decayed. He was no longer her slave — 
no longer her lover: he would never see her more, 
and by the completeness of his return, deserve 
the confidence of Perdita. 

Yet, as he thus determined, fancy conjured 
up the miserable abode of the Greek girl. An 
abode, which from noble and lofty principle, she 
had refused to exchange for one of greater 



THE LAST MAX. 273 

luxury. He thought of the splendour of her 
situation and appearance when he first knew her; 
he thought of her life at Constantinople, attended 
by every circumstance of oriental magnificence ; 
of her present penury, her daily task of industry, 
her lorn state, her faded, famine-struck cheek. 
Compassion swelled his breast ; he would see 
her once again ; he would devise some plan for 
restoring' her to society, and the enjoyment of 
her rank ; their separation would then follow, 
as a matter of course. 

Again he thought, how during this long 
month, he had avoided Perdita, flying from her 
as from the stings of his own conscience. But 
he was awake now; all this should be remedied; 
and future devotion erase the memory of this 
only blot on the serenity of their hfe. He be- 
came cheerful, as he thought of thi^, and soberly 
and resolutely marked out the line of conduct 
he would adopt He remembered that he had 
promised Perdita to be present this very even- 
ing (the 19th of October, anniversary of his 
N 3 



274? THE LAST MAK. 

election as Protector) at a festival given in his 
honour. Good augury should this festival be of 
the happiness of future years. First, he would 
look in on Evadne; he would not stay ; but he 
owed her some account, some compensation for 
his long and unannounced absence ; and then to 
Perdita, to the forgotten world, to the duties of 
society, the splendour of rank, the enjoyment of 
power. 

After the scene sketched in the preceding 
pages, Perdita had contemplated an entire 
change in the manners and conduct of Raymond. 
She expected freedom of communication, and a 
return to those habits of affectionate intercourse 
which had formed the delight of her Hfe. But 
Raymond did not join her in any of her avoca- 
tions. He transacted the business of the day 
apart from her ; he went out, she knew not whi- 
ther. The pain inflicted by this disappointment 
was tormenting and keen. She looked on it as 
a deceitful dream, and tried to throw off the 
consciousness of it ; but like the shirt of Nessus, 



THE LAST MAN 275 

it clung to her very flesh, and ate with sharp 
agony into her -vital principle. She possessed 
that (though such an assertion may appear a 
paradox) which belongs to few, a capacity 
of happiness. Her delicate organization and 
creative imagination rendered her peculiarly 
susceptible of pleasurable emotion. The over- 
flowing warmth of her heart, by making love a 
plant of deep root and stately growth, had at- 
tuned her whole soul to the reception of happi- 
ness, when she found in Raymond all that could 
adorn love and satisfy her imagination. But if 
the sentiment on which the fabric of her ex- 
istence was founded, became common place 
through participation, the endless succession of 
attentions and graceful action snapt by transfer, 
his universe of love wrested from her, happiness 
must depart, and then be exchanged for its oppo- 
site. The same peculiarities of character ren- 
dered her sorrows agonies ; her fancy magnified 
them, her sensibility made her for ever open to 
their renewed impression ; love envenomed the 



276 THE LAST MAN. 

heart-piercing sting. There was neither sub- 
mission, patience, nor self-abandonment in her 
grief; she fought with it, struggled beneath it, 
and rendered every pang more sharp by resist- 
ance. Again and again the idea recurred, that 
he"~ loved another. She did him justice; she 
believed that he felt a tender aiFection for her ; 
but give a paltry prize to him who in some life- 
pending lottery has calculated on the possession 
of tens of thousands, and it will disappoint him 
more than a blank. The affection and amity 
of a Raymond might be inestimable ; but, be- 
yond that affection, embosomed deeper than 
friendship, was the indivisible treasure of love. 
Take the sum in its completeness, and no arith- 
metic can calculate its price ; take from it the 
smallest portion, give it but the name of parts, 
separate it into degrees and sections, and like the 
magician's coin, the valueless gold of the mine, 
is turned to vilest substance. There is a meaning 
in the eye of love ; a cadence in its voice, an 
iJTadiation in its smile, the talisman of whose en- 



THE LAST MAN. 277 

chantments one only can possess; its spirit is 
elemental, its essence single, its divinity an 
unit. The very heart and soul of Raymond 
and Perdita had mingled, even as two mountain 
brooks that join in their descent, and murmur- 
ing and sparkling flow over shining pebbles, 
beside starry flowers; but let one desert its 
primal course, or be dammed up by choaking 
obstruction, and the other shrinks in its altered 
banks. Perdita was sensible of the failinor of 

o 

the tide that fed her life. Unable to support 
the slow withering of her hopes, she suddenly 
formed a plan, resolving to terminate at once 
the period of misery, and to bring to an happy 
conclusion the late disastrous events. 

The anniversary was at hand of the exalta- 
tion of Raymond to the office of Protector ; and 
it was customary to celebrate this day by a 
splendid festival. A variety of feelings urged 
Perdita to shed double magnificence over the 
scene ; yet, as she arrayed herself for the even- 
ing gala, she wondered herself at the pains she 



^8 THE LAST MAN. 

took, to render sumptuous the celebration of an 
event which appeared to her the beginning of 
her sufferings. Woe befall the day, she thought, 
woe, tears, and mourning betide the hour, that 
gave Raymond another hope than love, another 
wish than my devotion ; and thrice joyful the 
moment when he shall be restored to me ! God 
knows, I put my trust in his vows, and believe 
his asserted faith — but for that, I would not 
seek what I am now resolved to attain. Shall 
two years more be thus passed, each day adding 
to our alienation, each act being another stone 
piled on the barrier which separates us ? No, 
my Raymond, my only beloved, sole possession 
of Perdita ! This night, this splendid assem- 
bly, these sumptuous apartments, and this 
adornment of your tearful girl, are all united 
to celebrate your abdication. Once for me, 
you relinquished the prospect of a crown. That 
was in days of early love, when I could only 
hold out the hope, not the assurance of happi- 
ness. Now you have the experience of all that 



THE LAST MAX. 279 

I can give, the heart's devotion, taintless love, 
and unhesitating subjection to you. You must 
choose between these and your protectorate. 
This, proud noble, is your last night ! Perdita 
has bestowed on it all of magnificent and dazzhng 
that your heai*t best loves — but, from these gor- 
geous rooms, from this princely attendance, from 
power and elevation, you must return ^nth to- 
morrow"'s sun to our rural abode ; for I would 
not buy an immortality of joy, by the endu- 
rance of one more week sister to the last. 

Brooding over this plan, resolved when the 
hour should come, to propose, and insist upon 
its accomphshment, secure of his consent, the 
heart of Perdita was hghtened, or rather ex- 
alted. Her cheek was flushed by the expecta- 
tion of struggle ; her eyes sparkled with the hope 
of triumph. Having cast her fate upon a die, 
and feeling secure of winning, she, whom I have 
named as beai'ing the stamp of queen of r.ations 
on her noble brow, now rose superior to huma- 
nity, and seemed in calm power, to arrest with 



80 THE LAST MAN. 

her finger, the wheel of destiny. She had 
never before looked so supremely lovely. 

We, the' Arcadian shepherds of the tale, had 
intended to be present at this festivity, but Per- 
dita wrote to entreat us not to come, or to ab- 
sent ourselves from Windsor ; for she (though 
she did not reveal her scheme to us) resolved 
the next morning to return with Raymond to 
our dear circle, there to renew a course of life 
in which she had found entire felicity. Late in 
the evening she entered the apartments appro- 
priated to the festival. Raymond had quitted 
the palace the night before ; he had promised to 
grace the assembly, but he had not yet re- 
turned. Still she felt sure that he would come 
at last ; and the wider the breach might appear 
at this crisis, the more secure she was of closing 
it for ever. 

It was as I said, the nineteenth of October; 
the autumn was far advanced and dreary. The 
wind howled; the half bare trees were despoiled 
of the remainder of their summer ornament ; the 



THE LAST MAN. 281 

State of the air which induced the decay of 
vegetation, was hostile to cheerfulness or hope. 
Raymond had been exalted by the determina- 
tion he had made ; but with the declining day his 
spirits declined. First he was to visit E^i^dne, 
and then to hasten to the palace of the Protec- 
torate. As he walked through the wretched 
streets in the neighbourhood of the luckless 
Greek's abode, his heart smote him for the 
whole course of his conduct towards her. First, 
his having entered into any engagement that 
should permit her to remain in such a state of de- 
gradation ; and then, after a short wild dream, 
having left her to drear solitude, anxious con- 
jecture, and bitter, still — disappointed expec- 
tation. What had she done the while, how 
supported his absence and neglect ? Light grew 
dim in these close streets, and when the well 
known door was opened, the staircase was 
shrouded in perfect night. He groped his 
way up, he entered the garret, he found 
Evadne stretched speechless, almost life- 



^2 THE LAST MAN. 

less on her wretched bed. He called for the 
people of the house, but could learn nothing 
from them, except that they knew nothhig. 
Her story was plain to him, plain and distinct 
as t^ remorse and horror that darted their 
fangs into him. When she found herself 
forsaken by him, she lost the heart to pur- 
sue her usual avocations ; pride forbade every 
application to him ; famine was welcomed as 
the kind porter to the gates of death, within 
whose opening folds she should now, without 
sin, quickly repose. No creature came neai* 
her, as her strength failed. 

If she died, where could there be found on 
record a mvu'derer, whose cruel, act might com- 
pare with his ? What fiend more wanton in his 
mischief, what damned soul more worthy of 
perdition ! But he was not reserved for this 
agony of self-reproach. He sent for medical 
assistance ; the hours passed, spun by suspense 
into ages ; the darkness of the long autumnal 
night yielded to day, before her life was secure. 



THE LAST MAX. 283 

He had her then removed to a more commodi- 
ous dwelling, and hovered about her, again and 
again to assure himself that she was safe. 

In the midst of his greatest suspense and fear 
as to the event, he remembered the festival 
given in his honour, by Perdita ; in his honour 
then, when misery and death were affixing in- 
delible disgrace to his name, honour to him 
whose crimes deserved a scaffold ; this was 
the worst mockery. Still Perdita would expect 
him ; he wrote a few incoherent words on a 
scrap of paper, testifying that he was well, and 
bade the woman of the house take it to the palace, 
and deliver it into the hands of the wife of the 
Lord Protector. The woman, who did not know 
him, contemptuously asked, how he thought 
she should gain admittance, particularly on a 
festal night, to that lady's presence ? Raymond 
gave her his ring to ensure the respect of the 
menials. Thus, while Perdita was entertaining 
her guests, and anxiously awaiting the arrival 
of her lord, his ring was brought her ; and she 



284* THE LAST MAN. 

was told that a poor woman had a note to de- 
liver to her from its wearer. 

The vanity of the old gossip was raised by 
her commission, which, after all, she did not un- 
derstand, since she had no suspicion, even now 
that Evadne's visitor was Lord Raymond. 
Perdita dreaded a fall from his horse, or some 
similar accident — till the woman's answers woke 
other fears. From a feeling of cunning blindly 
exercised, the officious, if not malignant messen- 
ger, did not speak of Evadne's illness ; but she 
garrulously gave an account of Raymond's fre- 
quent visits, adding to her narration such cir- 
cumstances, as, while they convinced Perdita 
of its truth, exaggerated the unkindness and 
perfidy of Raymond. Worst of all, his 
absence now from the festival, his message wholly 
unaccounted for, except by the disgraceful hints 
of the woman, appeared the deadliest insult. 
Again she looked at the ring, it was a small ruby, 
almost heart-shaped, which she had herself given 
him. She looked at the hand- writing, which she 



THE LAST MAN. 285 

could not mistake, and repeated to herself the 
words — " Do not, I charge you, I entreat you, 
permit your guests to wonder at my absence :" 
the while the old crone going on with her talk, 
filled her ear with a strange medley of truth and 
falsehood. At length Perdita dismissed her. 

The poor girl returned to the assembly, where 
her presence had not been missed. She glided 
into a recess somewhat obscured, and leaning 
against an ornamental column there placed, tried 
to recover herself. Her faculties were palsied. 
She gazed on some flowers that stood near in a 
carved vase: that morning she had arranged 
them, they were rare and lovely plants ; even 
now all aghast as she was, she observed their 
brilliant colours and starry shapes. — " Divine 
infoliations of the spirit of beauty,'"* she ex- 
claimed, '' Ye droop not, neither do ye mourn ; 
the despair that clasps my heart, has not spread 
contagion over you ! — Why am I not a partner 
of your insensibility, a sharer in your calm !" 
She paused . " To my task,*' she continued 



2S6 THE LAST ]\IAN. 

mentally, " my guests must not perceive the 
reality, either as it regards him or me. I obey ; 
they shall not, though I die the moment they 
are gone. They shall behold the antipodes of 
what is real — for I will appear to live — while I 
am — dead." It required all her self-command, 
to suppress the gush of tears self-pity caused at 
this idea. After many struggles, she succeeded, 
and turned to join the company. 

All her efforts were now directed to the dis- 
sembling her internal conflict. She had to play 
the part of a courteous hostess ; to attend to 
all ; to shine the focus of enjoyment and grace. 
She had to do this, while in deep woe she sighed 
for loneliness, and would gladly have exchanged 
her crowded rooms for dark forest depths, or a 
drear, night-enshadowcd heath. But she became 
gay. She could not keep in the medium, nor be, 
as was usual with her, placidly content. Every 
one remarked her exhilaration of spirits ; as all 
actions appear graceful in the eye of rank, her 
guests surrounded her applaudingly, although 



THE LAST MAX. 287 

there was a sharpness in her laugh, and an ab- 
ruptness in her saUies, which might have betray- 
ed her secret to an attentive observer. She went 
on, feehngthat, if she had paused for a moment, 
the checked waters of misery would have de- 
luged her soul, that her wrecked hopes would 
raise their wailing voices, and that those who now 
echoed her mirth, and provoked her repartees, 
would have shrunk in fear from her convulsive 
despair. Her only consolation during the vio- 
lence which she did herself, was to watch the 
motions of an illuminated clock, and internally 
count the moments which must elapse before 
she could be alone. 

At length the rooms began to thin. Mocking 
her own desires, she rallied her guests on their 
early departure. One by one they left her — at 
length she pressed the hand of her last visitor. 
'' How cold and damp your hand is," said her 
friend ; " you are over fatigued, pray hasten to 
rest."' Perdita smiled faintly — her guest left 
her; the carriage rolling down the street assured 



288 THE LAST MAN. 

the final departure. Then, as if pursued by an 
enemy, as if wings had been at her feet, she 
flew to her own apartment, she dismissed her 
attendants, she locked the doors, she threw 
herself wildly on the floor, she bit her lips even to 
blood to suppress her shrieks, and lay long a 
prey to the vulture of despair, striving not to 
think, while multitudinous ideas made a home 
of her heart ; and ideas, horrid as furies, cruel as 
vipers, and poured in with such swift succession, 
that thfy seemed to jostle and woum! each 
other, while they worked her up to madness. 

At length she rose, more composed, not less 
miserable. She stood before a large mirror — 
she gazed on her reflected image ; her light and 
graceful dress, the jewels that studded he.'* hair, 
and encircled her beauteous arms and neck, her 
small feet shod in satin, her profuse and glossy 
tresses, all were to her clouded brow and woe- 
begone countenance like a gorgeous frame to a 
dark tempest-pourtraying picture. " \ase am 
I," she thought, " vase brimful of despair's 



THE LAST MAX. £89 

direst essence. Farewell, Perdita ! farewell, poor 
girl ! never again will you see yourself thus ; 
luxury and wealth are no longer yours ; in the 
excess of your poverty you may envy the home- 
less beggar ; most truly am I without a home ! 
I live on a barren desart, which, wide and in- 
terminable, brings forthn either fruit or flower ; 
in the mid-^t is a solitary rock, to which thou, 
Perdita, art chained, and thou seest the dreary 
level stretch far away.'** 

She threw open her window, which looked en 
the palace-garden. Light and darkness were 
struggling together, and the orient was streaked 
by roseate and golden rays. One star only 
trembled in the depth of the kindling atmo- 
sphere. The morning air blowing freshly over 
the dewy plants, rushed into the heated room. 
" All things go on," thought Perdita, " all 
tilings proceed, decay, and perish ! When 
noontide has passed, and the weary day has 
driven her team to their western stalls, the fires 
of heaven rise from the East, moving in their 

VOL. I. o 



290 THE LAST MAN. 

accustomed path, they ascend and descend the 
skiey hill. When their course is fulfilled, the 
dial begins to cast westward an uncertain 
shadow; the eye-lids of day are opened, and 
birds and flowers, the startled vegetation, and 
fresh breeze awaken ; the sun at length ap- 
pears, and in majestic procession climbs the 
capitol of heaven. All proceeds, changes and 
dies, except the sense of misery in my bursting 
heart. 

" Ay, all proceeds and changes : what wonder 
then, that love has journied on to its setting, 
and that the lord of my life has changed ? We 
call the supernal lights fixed, yet they wander 
about yonder plain, and if I look again where I 
looked an hour ago, the face of the eternal 
heavens is altered. The silly moon and incon- 
stant planets vary nightly their erratic dance ; 
the sun itself, sovereign of the sky, ever and 
anon deserts liis throne, and leaves his domi- 
nion to night and winter. Nature grows old, 
and shakes in her decaying limbs, — creation has 



THE LAST MAN. 291 

become bankrupt ! What wonder then, that 
eclipse and death have led to destruction the 
light of thy life, O Perdita !" 



o2 



292 THE LAST MAX. 



CHAPTER IX. 



Thus sad and disarranged were the thoughts 
of my poor sister, when she became assured of 
the infidelity of Raymond. All her virtues and 
all her defects tended to make the blow in- 
curable. Her affection for me, her brother, 
for Adrian and Idris, was subject as it were to 
the reigning passion of her heart ; even her 
maternal tenderness borrowed half its force 
from the delight she had in tracing Raymond's 
features and expression in the infant's coun- 
tenance. She had been reserved and even stern 
in childhood ; but love had softened the asperi- 
ties of her character, and her union with Ray- 



THE LAST MAN. 293 

mond had caused her talents and affections to 
unfold themselves; the one betrayed, and the 
other lost, she in some degree returned to her 
ancient disposition. The concentrated pride of 
her nature, forgotten during her blissful dream, 
awoke, and with its adder's sting pierced her 
heart; her humility of spirit augmented the 
power of the venom ; she had been exalted in 
her own estimation, while distinguished by his 
love : of what worth was she, now that he thrust 
her from this preferment ? She had been proud 
of having won and preserved him — but another 
had v/on him from her, and her exultation w^as as 
cold as a water quenched ember. 

We, in our retirement, remained long in 
ignorance of her misfortune. Soon after the 
festival she had sent for her child, and then she 
seemed to have forgotten us. Adrian observed 
a change during a visit that he afterward paid 
them ; but he could not tell its extent, or divine 
the cause. They still appeared in public to- 
gether, and lived under the same roof. Ray- 



294 THE LAST MAX. 

mond was as usual courteous, though there wae, 
on occasions, an unbidden haughtiness, or pain- 
ful abruptness in his manners, which startled 
his gentle friend ; his brow was not clouded 
but disdain sat on his lips, and his voice was 
harsh. Perdita was all kindness and attention 
to her lord ; but she was silent, and beyond words 
sad. She had grown thin and pale ; and her 
eyes often filled with tears. Sometimes she 
looked at Raymond, as if to say — That it should 
be so ! At others her countenance expressed — 
I will still do all I can to make you happy. 
But Adrian read with uncertain aim the 
charactery of her face, and might mistake. — 
Clara was always with her, and she seemed 
most at ease, when, in an obscure corner, she 
could sit holding her child's hand, silent and 
lonely. Still Adrian was unable to guess the 
truth ; he entreated them to visit us at Wind- 
sor, and they promised to come during the fol- 
lowing month. 

It was May before they arrived : the season 



THE LAST MAX. 5295 

had decked the forest trees with leaves, and its 
paths with a thousand flowers. We had notice 
of their intention the day before ; and, early in 
the morning, Perdita arrived with her daughter. 
Raymond would follow soon, she said ; he had 
been detained by business. According to 
Adrian's account, I had expected to find her 
sad ; but, on the contrary, she appeared in the 
highest spirits : true, she had grown thin, her 
eyes were somewhat hollow, and her cheeks sunk, 
though tinged by a bright glow. She was 
delighted to see us ; caressed our children, 
praised their growth and improvement; CJara 
also was pleased to meet again her young friend 
Alfred ; all kinds of childish games Avere 
entered into, in which Perdita joined. She 
communicated her gaiety to us, and as we 
amused ourselves on the Castle Terrace, it ap- 
peared that a happier, less care-worn party could 
not have been assembled. " This is better. 
Mamma,"''' said Clara, " that being in that dis- 
mal London, where you often cry, and never 



296 THE LAST MAN. 

laugh as you do now." — " Silence, little foolish 
thing,*" replied her mother, '' and remember 
any one that mentions London is sent to Co- 
ventry for an hour." 

Soon after, Raymond arrived. He did not 
join as usual in the playful spirit of the rest; 
but, entering into conversation with Adrian and 
myself, by degrees we seceded from our com- 
panions, and Idris and Perdita only remained 
with the children. Raymond talked of his new 
buildings ; of his plan for an establishment for 
the better education of the poor; as usual 
Adrian and he entered into argument, and the 
time slipped away unperceived. 

We assembled again towards evening, and 
Perdita" insisted on our having recourse to music. 
She v/anted, she said, to give us a specimen of 
her new accomplishment ; for since she had been 
in London, she had applied herself to music, and 
sang, without much power, but with a great deal 
of sweetness. We were not permitted by her to 
select any but light-hearted melodies; and all 



THE LAST MAN 297 

the Operas of iMozart were called into service, 
that we might choose the most exhilarating of 
his airs. Among the other transcendant attri- 
butes of ]\fozart*s music, it possesses more than 
any other that of appearing to come from the 
heart ; you enter into the passions expressed by 
him, and are transported with grief, joy, anger, or 
confusion, as he, our soul's master, chooses to 
inspire. For some time, the spirit of hilarity 
was kept up ; but, at length, Perdita receded 
from the piano, for Raymond had joined in 
the trio of" Taci ingiusto core,'' in Don Gio- 
vanni, whose arch entreaty was softened by him 
into tenderness, and thrilled her heart with me- 
mories of the changed past ; it was the same 
voice, the same tone, the self-same sounds and 
words, which often before she had received, as the 
homage of love to her— no longer was it that ; 
and this concord of sound with its dissonance of 
expression penetrated her with regret and 
despair. Soon after Idris, who was at the harp, 
turned to that passionate and sorrowful air in 
o 3 



298 THE LAST MAK. 

Figaro, ^'Porgi, amor, qualche listoro,^^ in which 
the deserted Countess laments the chancre of the 
faithless Ahuaviva. The soul of tender sorrow 
is breathed forth in this strain ; and the sweet 
voice of Idris, sustained by the mournful chords 
of her instrument, added to the expression of 
the words. During the pathetic appeal with 
which it concludes, a stifled sob attracted our 
attention to Perdita, the cessation of the music 
recalled her to herself, she hastened out of the 
hall — I followed her. At first, she seemed to 
wish to shun me; and then, yielding to my 
earnest questioning, she threw herself on my 
neck, and wept aloud : — '* Once more," she cried, 
'' once more on yojur friendly breast, my belovea 
brother, can the lost Perdita pour forth her 
sorrows. I had imposed a law of silence on my- 
self ; and for months I have kept it. I do wrong 
in weeping now, and greater wrong in giving 
words to my grief. I will not speak ! Be 
enough for you to know that I am miserable • 
be it enough for you to know, that the paintej 



THE LAST MAN. 299 

veil of life is rent, that I sit for ever shrouded 
in darkness and gloom, that grief is my sister, 
everlasting lamentation my mate !" 

I endeavoured to console her ; I did not 
question her ! but I caressed her, assured her 
of my deepest affection and my intense in- 
terest in the changes of her fortune: — " Dear 
words,"' she cried, "expressions of love come 
upon lily ear, like the remembered sounds 
of forgotten music, that had been dear to me. 
They are vain, I know ; how very vain in their 
attempt to soothe or comfort me. Dearest 
Lionel, you cannot guess what I have suffered 
during these long months. I have read of 
mourners in ancient days, who clothed them- 
selves in sackcloth, scattered dust upon their 
heads, ate their bread mingled with ashes, and 
took up their abode on the bleak mountain tops, 
reproaching heaven and earth aloud with their 
misfortunes. Why this is the very luxury of 
sorrow ! thus one might go on from day to day 
contriving new extravagances, revelling in the 



300 THE LAST MA.N\ 

paraphernalia of woe, wedded to all the appur- 
tenances of despair. Alas ! I must for ever 
conceal the wretchedness that consumes me. 
I must weave a veil of dazzling falsehood to 
hide my grief from vulgar eyes, smoothe my 
brow, and paint my lips in deceitful smiles — 
even in solitude I dare not think how lost I am, 
lest I become insane and rave."' 

The tears and agitation of my poor sister 
had rendered her unfit to return to the circle 
we had left — so I persuaded her to let me drive 
her through the park ; and, during the ride, I 
induced her to confide the tale of her unhappi- 
ness to me, fancying that talking of it would 
lio-hten the burthen, and certain that, if there 
were a remedy, it should be found and secured 
to her. 

Several weeks had elapsed since the festival 
of the anniversary, and she had been unable 
to calm her mind, or to subdue her thoughts to 
any regular train. Sometimes she reproached 
herself for taking too bitterlv to heart, that which 



THE LAST MAX. 301 

many would esteem an imaginary evil ; but this 
was no subject for reason ; and, ignorant as she 
was of the motives and true conduct of Ray- 
mond, things assumed for her even a worse ap- 
pearance, than the reahty warranted. He was 
seldom at the palace ; never, but when he was 
assured that his public duties would prevent his 
remaining alone with Perdita. They seldom 
addi'essed each other, shunning explanation, 
each fearing any communication the other 
might make. Suddenly, however, the manners 
of Raymond changed ; he appeared to desire 
to find opportunities of bringing about a return 
to kindness and intimacy with my sister. The 
tide of love towards her appeared to flow again ; 
he could never forget, how once he had been 
devoted to her, making her the shrine and 
storehouse wherein to place every thought and 
every sentiment. Shame seemed to hold him 
back ; yet he evidently wished to establish 
a renewal of confidence and affection. From 



$0^ THE LAST :MAX. 

the moment Perdita had sufficiently recovered 
herself to form any plan of action, she had laid 
one down, which now she prepared to follow. 
She received these tokens of returning love with 
gentleness ; she did not shun his company ; but 
she endeavoured to place a barrier in the way 
of familiar intercourse or painful discussion, 
which mingled pride and shame prevented 
Raymond from surmounting. He began at 
last to shew signs of angry impatience, and 
Perdita became aware that the system she had 
adopted could not continue ; she must explain 
herself to him ; she could not summon courage 
to speak — she wrote thus : — 

" Read this letter with patience, I entreat 
you. It will contain no reproaches. Reproach 
is indeed an idle word: for what should 1 
reproach you? 

" Allow me in some degree to explain my 
feeling ; without that, we shall both grope in 
the dark, mistaking one another ; erring from 



THE LAST MAN. 

the path which may conduct, one of ns at least, 
to a more eligible mode of life than that led by 
either during the last few weeks. 

" I loved you — I love you — neither anger nor 
pride dictates these lines ; but a feeling beyond, 
deeper, and more unalterable than either. My 
affections are wounded ; it is impossible to heal 
them: — cease then the vain endeavour, if in- 
deed that way your endeavours tend. Forgive- 
ness ! Return ! Idle words are these ! I forgive 
the pain I endure ; but the trodden path can- 
not be retraced. 

" Common affection might have been satis- 
fied with common usages. I believed that you 
read my heart, and knew its devotion, its un- 
alienable fidelity towards you. I never loved 
any but you. You came the embodied image 
of my fondest dreams. The praise of men, 
power and high aspirations attended your career. 
Love for you invested the world for me in en- 
chanted light ; it was no longer the earth I 
trod^— the earth common mother, yielding only 



304 THE LAST MAX. 

trite and stale repetition of objects and circum- 
stances old and worn out. I lived in a temple 
glorified by intensest sense of devotion and 
rapture ; I walked, a consecrated being, con- 
templating only your power, your excellence ; 

For O, you stood beside me, like my youth, 
Transformed for me the real to a dream, 
Cloathing the palpable and familiar 
With goldea exhalations of the dawn. 

* The bloom has vanished from my life"* — there 
is no morning to this all investing night ; no rising 
to the set-sun of love. In those days the rest of 
the world was nothing to me : all other men — 
I never considered nor felt what they were; nor 
did I look on you as one of them. Separated 
from them ; exalted in my heart ; sole possessor 
of my affections ; single object of my hopes , 
the best half of myself. 

"Ah, Raymond, were we not happy? Did 
the sun shine on any, who could enjoy its light 
with purer and more intense bliss .^ It was not — 



THE LAST MAX. 305 

it is not a common infidelity at which I repine. 
It is the disunion of an whole which may not 
have parts ; it is the carelessness "\nth which 
you have shaken off the mantle of election 
with which to me you were invested, and have 
become one among the many. Dream not to 
alter this. Is not love a divinity, because it is 
immortal ? Did not I appear sanctified, even to 
myself, J)ecause this love had for its temple my 
heart ? I have gazed on you as you slept, 
melted even to tears, as the idea filled my mind, 
that all I possessed lay cradled in those ido- 
lized, but mortal lineaments before me. Yet, 
even then, I have checked thick-cominor fears 
with one thought ; I would not fear death, for 
the emotions that linked us must be immortal. 

'* And now I do not fear death. I should be 
well pleased to close my eyes, never more to 
open them again. And yet I fear it; even as 
I fear all things ; for in any state of being 
linked by the chain of memory with this, hap- 
piness would not return — even in Paradjse, 



306 THE LAST MAN. 

I must feel that your love was less enduring 
than the mortal beatings of my fragile heart, 
every pulse of which knells audibly. 

The funeral note 
Of love, deep buried, without resurrection. 

No — no — me miserable ; for love extinct there 
is no resurrection ! 

" Yet I love you. Yet, and for ever, would 
I contribute all I possess to your welfare. On 
account of a tattling world ; for the sake of my 
— of our child, I would remain by you, Ray- 
mond, share your fortunes, partake your coun- 
sel. Shall it be thus ? We are no longer 
lovers ; nor can I call myself a friend to any ; 
since, lost as I am, I have no thought to spare 
from my own wretched, engrossing self. But it 
will please me to see you each day ! to listen to 
the public voice praising you ; to keep up your 
paternal love for our girl ; to hear your voice ; 
to know that I am near you, though you are no 
longer mine. 



THE LAST MAN. 307 

" If you wish to break the chains that bind 
us, say the word, and it shall be done — I will 
take all the blame on myself, of harshness or 
unkindness, in the world's eye. 

'^ Yet, as I have said, I should be best 
pleased, at least for the present, to live under 
the same roof with you. When the fever of 
my young life is spent ; when placid age shall 
tame the vulture that devours me, friendship 
may come, love and hope being dead. jMay 
this be true ? Can my soul, inextricably linked 
to this perishable frame, become lethargic and 
cold, even as this sensitive mechanism shall 
loose its youthful elasticity.? Then, with lack- 
lustre eyes, grey hairs, and wrinkled brow, 
though now the words sound hollow and 
meaningless, then, tottering on the grave's 
extreme edge, I may be — your affectionate and 
true friend, 

" Perdita.''' 

Raymond's answer was brief. What indeed 



308 THE LAST MAX. 

could he reply to her complaints, to her griefs 
which she jealously paled round, keeping out 
all thought of remedy. " Notwithstanding your 
bitter letter," he wrote, " for bitter I must call 
it, you are the chief person in my estimation, 
and it is your happiness that I would principally 
consult. Do that which seems best to you : and 
if you can receive gratification from one mode 
of life in preference to another, do not let me 
be any obstacle. I foresee that the plan which 
you mark out in your letter will not endure 
long ; but you are mistress of yourself, and it 
is my sincere wish to contribute as far as you 
will permit nie to your happiness." 

" Raymond has prophesied well, ' said Per- 
dita, " alas, that it should be so ! our present 
mode of life cannot continue long, yet I will not 
be the first to propose alteration. He beholds 
in me one whom he has injured even unto death ; 
and I derive no hope from his kindness; no 
change can possibly be brought about even by 
his best intentions. As well might Cleopatra 



THE LAST MAN. 309 

have worn as an ornament the vinegar which 
contained her dissolved pearl, as 1 be content 
with the love that Raymond can now offer me." 
I own that I did not see her misfortune with 
the same eyes as Perdita. At all events me- 
thought that the wound could be healed ; and, if 
they remained togetherj^it would be so. I en- 
deavoured therefore to sooth and soften her 
mind ; and it was not until after many endea- 
vours that I gave up the task as impracticable. 
Perdita listened to me impatiently, and answered 
with some asperity : — " Do you think that any 
of your arguments are new to me ? or that my 
owa burning wishes and intense anguish have not 
suggested them all a thousand times, with far 
more eagerness and subtlety than you can put 
into them? Lionel, you cannot understand 
what woman's love is. In days of happiness I 
have often repeated to myself, with a grate- 
ful heart and exulting spirit, all that Ray- 
mond sacrificed for me. I was a poor, un- 
educatedj imbefriended, mountain girl, raised 



310 THE LAST MAN. 

from nothingness by him. All that I possessed 
of the luxuries of life came from him. He gave 
me an illustrious name and noble station ; the 
world's respect reflected from his own glory : all 
his joined to his own undying love, inspired me 
with sensations towards him, akin to those with 
which we regard the Giver of hfe. I gave him 
love only. I devoted myself to him : imperfect 
creature that I was, I took myself to task, that 
I might become worthy of him. I watched over 
my hasty temper, subdued my burning im- 
patience of character, schooled my self-engross- 
ing thoughts, educating myself to the best per- 
fection I might attain, that the fruit of my ex- 
ertions might be his happiness. I took no merit 
to myself for this. He deserved it all — all la- 
bour, all devotion, all sacrifice ; I would have 
toiled up a scaleless Alp, to pluck a flower that 
would please him. I was ready to quit you all, 
my beloved and gifted companions, and to live 
only with him, for him. I could not do other- 
wise, even if I had wished ; for if we are said to 



THE LAST MAN 311 

have two souls, he was my better soul, to which 
the other was a perpetual slave. One onl)' re- 
turn did he owe me, even fidelity. I earned 
that ; I deserved it. Because I was mountain 
bred, unallied to the noble and wealthy, shall 
he think to repay me by an empty name and 
station ? Let him take them back ; without his 
love they are nothing to me. Their only merit 
in my eyes was that they were his. 

Thus passionately Perdita ran on. When I 
adverted to the question of their entire separa- 
tion, she replied : ** Be it so ! One day the 
period will arrive; I know it, and feel it. But 
in this I am a coward. This imperfect com- 
panionship, and our masquerade of union, are 
strangely dear to me. It is painful, I allow, 
destructive, impracticable. It keeps up a per- 
petual fever in my veins ; it frets my immedica- 
ble wound ; it is instinct with poison. Yet I 
must cling to it ; perhaps it wiU kill me soon, 
and thus perform a thankful office." 

In the mean time, Raymond had remained 



312 THE LAST MAN. 

with Adrian and Idris. He was naturally 
frank ; the continued absence of Perdita and 
myself became remarkable ; and Raymond soon 
found relief from the constraint of months, 
by an unreserved confidence with his two 
friends. He related to them the situation in 
which he had found Evadne. At first, from 
delicacy to Adrian he concealed her name ; but 
it was divulged in the course of his narrative, 
and her former lover heard with the most acute 
agitation the history of her sufferings. Idris 
had shared Perdita's ill opinion of the Greek ; 
but Raymond's account softened and interested 
her. Evadne' s constancy, fortitude, even her 
ill-fated and ill- regulated love, were matter of 
admiration and pity ; especially when, from the 
detail of the events of the nineteenth of Oc- 
tober, it was apparent that she preferred suffer- 
ing and death to any in her eyes degrading 
application for the pity and assistance of her 
lover. Her subsequent conduct did not diminish 
this interest. At first, reheved from famine and 



THE LAST MAJT. 313 

\he grave, watched over by Raymond with the 
tenderest assiduity, with that feeling of repose 
pecuHar to convalescence, Evadne gave herself 
up to rapturous gratitude and love. But reflec- 
tion returned with health. She questioned him 
with regard to the motives which had occa- 
sioned his critical absence. She framed her en- 
quiries with Greek subtlety ; she formed he^ 
conclusions with the decision and firmness pe- 
culiar to her disposition. She could not divine, 
that the breach which she had occasioned be- 
tween Raymond and Perdita was already irre- 
parable : but she knew, that under the present 
system it would be widened each day, and that 
its result must be to destroy her lover's happi- 
ness, and to implant the fangs of remorse in his 
heart. From the moment that she perceived 
the right hne of conduct, she resolved to adopt 
it, and to part from Raymond for ever. Con- 
flicting passions, long-cherished love, and self- 
inflicted disappointment, made her regard death" 
alone as suflicient refuge for her woe. Uut the 

VOL. I. P 



S14 THE LAST MAN. 

same feelings and opinions which had before re- 
strained her, acted with redoubled force ; for she 
knew that the reflection that he had occasioned 
her death, w^ould pursue Raymond through life, 
poisoning every enjoyment, clouding every 
prospect. Besides, though the violence of her 
anguish made life hateful, it had not yet pro- 
duced that monotonous, lethargic sense of 
changeless misery which for the most part pro- 
duces suicide. Her energy of character induced 
her still to combat with the ills of hfe ; even 
those attendant on hopeless love presented them- 
selves, rather in the shape of an adversary to be 
overcome, than of a victor to whom she must 
submit. Besides, she had memories of past 
tenderness to cherish, smiles, words, and even 
tears, to con over, which, though remembered in 
desertion and sorrow, were to be preferred to 
the forgetfulness of the grave. It was impos- 
sible to guess at the whole of her plan. Her 
letter to Raymond gave no clue for dis- 
covery ; it assured him, that she was in no 



THE LAST MAN. 315 

danger of wanting the means of life ; she pro- 
mised in it to preserve herself, and some future 
day perhaps to present herself to him in a sta- 
tion not unworthy of her. She then bade him, 
with the eloquence of despair and of unalterable 
love, a last farewell. 

All these circumstances were now related to 
Adrian and Idris. Raymond then lamented 
the cureless evil of his situation with Perdita 
He declared, notwithstanding her harshness, he 
even called it coldness, that he loved her. He 
had been ready once with the humihty of a 
penitent, and the duty of a vassal, to surrender 
himself to her ; giving up his very soul to her 
tutelage, to become her pupil, her slave, her 
bondsman. She had rejected these advances ; 
and the time for such exuberant submission, 
which must be founded on love and nourished 
by it, was now passed. Still all his wishes and 
endeavours were directed towards her peace, 
and his chief discomfort arose from the percep- 
tion that he exerted himself in vain. If she were 
p 2 



SIG THE LAST MAIir. 

to continue inflexible in the line of conduct she 
now pursued, they must part. The combina- 
tions and occurrences of this senseless mode of 
intercourse were maddening to him. Yet he 
would not propose the separation. He wa.^^ 
haunted by the fear of causing the death of one 
or other of the beings implicated in these 
events ; and he could not persuade himself to 
undertake to direct the course of events, lest, 
ignorant of the land he traversed, he should lead 
those attached to the car into irremediable ruin. 
After a discussion on this subject, which 
lasted for several hours, he took leave of his 
friends, and returned to town, unwilling to 
meet Perdita before us, conscious, as we all 
must be, of the thoughts uppermost in the 
minds of both. Perdita prepared to follow him 
with her child. Idris endeavoured to persuade 
her to remain. My poor sister looked at the 
counsellor with affright. She knew that Ray- 
mond had conversed with her ; had he instigat- 
ed this request ? — was this to be the prelude to 



THE LAST MAN. Sl7 

their eternal separation ? — I have said, that th^ 
defects of her character awoke and acquired 
vigour from her unnatural position. She regard- 
ed with suspicion the invitation of Idris ; she 
embraced me, as if she were about to be de- 
prived of my affection also : calling me her 
more than brother, her only friend, her last 
hope, she pathetically conjured me not to cease 
to love her ; and with encr eased anxiety she 
departed for London, the scene and cause of all 
her misery. 

The scenes that followed, convinced her that 
she had not yet fathomed the obscure gulph into 
which she had plunged. Her unhappiness as- 
sumed every day a new shape ; every day some 
unexpected event seemed to close, while in fact 
it led onward, the train of calamities which now 
befell her. 

The selected passiwiof the soul of Raymond 
was ambition. Readiness of talent, a capacity 
of entering into, and leading the dispositions 
of men ; earnest desire of distinction were the 



318 THE LAST MAN. 

awakeners and nurses of his ambition. But 
other ingredients mingled with these, and pre- 
vented him from becoming the calculating, de- 
termined character, which alone forms a suc- 
cessful hero. He was obstinate, but not firm ; 
benevolent in his first movements ; harsh and 
reckless when provoked. Above all, he was 
remorseless and unyielding in the pursuit of any 
object of desire, however lawless. Love of 
pleasure, and the softer sensibilities of our 
nature, made a prominent part of his character, 
conquering the conqueror; holding him in at 
the moment of acquisition ; sweeping away 
ambition's web; making hitn forget the toil of 
weeks, for the sake of one moment's indulgence 
of the new and actual object of his wishes. 
Obeying these impulses, he had become the hus- 
band of Perdita : egged on by them, he found 
himself the lover of Evadne. He had now lost 
both. He had neither the ennobling self-gra- 
tulation, which constancy inspires, to con- 
sole him, nor the voluptuous sense of abandon- 



THE LAST MAN, 319 

merit to a forbidden, but intoxicating passion. 
His heart was exhausted by the recent events ; 
his enjoyment of hfe was destroyed by the re- 
sentment of Perdita, and the flight of Evadne ; 
and the inflexibility of the former, set the last 
seal upon the annihilation of his hopes. As 
long as their disunion remained a secret, he 
cherished an expectation of re-awakening past 
tenderness in her bosom ; now that we Vtere all 
made acquainted with these occurrences, and that 
Perdita, by declaring her resolves to others, in 
a manner pledged herself to their accomplish- 
ment, he gave up the idea of re-union as futile, 
and sought only, since he was unable to influence 
her to change, to reconcile himself to the pre- 
sent state of things. He made a vow against 
love and its train of struggles, disappointment 
and remorse, and sought in mere sensual enjoy- 
ment, a remedy for the injurious inroads of 
passion. 

Debasement of character is the certain follower 
of such pursuits. Yet this consequence would 



320 THE LAST MA:N. 

not have been immediately remarkable, if Ray- 
mond had continued to apply himself to the 
execution of his plans for the public benefit, and 
the fulfilhng his duties as Protector. But, 
extreme in all things, given up to immediate 
impressions, he entered with ardour into this new- 
pursuit of pleasure, and followed up the incon- 
gruous intimacies occasioned by it without reflec- 
tion or foresight. The council-chamber was 
deserted ; the crowds which attended on him as 
agents to his various projects were neglected. 
Festivity, and even libertinism^ became the order 
of the day. 

Ferdita beheld with affright the encreasing 
disorder. For a moment she thought that she 
could stem the torrent, and that Raymond could 
be induced to hear reason from her. — Vain hope t 
The moment of her influence was passed. He 
listened with haughtiaess, replied disdainfully ; 
and, if in trutli, she succeeded in awakening his 
c(Hiscience, the sole effect was that he sought an 
opiate for the pang in oblivious riot. With the 



THE LAST MAX. 



3^1 



energy natural to her, Perdita then endeavoured 
to supply his place. Their still apparent union 
permitted her to do much ; but no woman could, 
in the end, present a remedy to the encreasing 
negligence of the Protector ; who, as if seized 
with a paroxysm of insanity, trampled on all 
ceremony, all order, all duty, and gave himself 
up to license. 

Reports of these strange proceedings reached 
us, and we were undecided what method to 
adopt to restore our friend to himself and his 
country, when Perdita suddenly appeared among 
us. She detailed the progress of the mournful 
change, and entreated Adrian and myself to go 
up to London, and endeavour to remedy the 
encreasing evil : — " Tell him,"" she cried, " tell 
Lord Raymond, that my presence shall no longer 
annoy him. That he need not plunge into this 
destructive dissipation for the sake of disgustuig 
me, and causing me to fly. This purpose is 
now accomplished ; he will never see me more. 
But let me, it is my last entreaty, let me in the 
p 3 



THE LAST MAN. 

praises of his countrymen and the prosperity of 
England, find the choice of my youth justified.'' 
During our ride up to town, Adrian and I 
discussed and argued upon Raymond's conduct^ 
and his falling off from the hopes of permanent 
excellence on his part, which he had before given 
us cause to entertain. My friend and I had 
both been educated in one school, or rather I was 
his pupil in the opinion, that steady adherence to 
principle was the only road to honour ; a ceaseless 
observance of the laws of general utility, the 
only conscientious aim of human ambition. But 
though we both entertained these ideas, we dif- 
fered in their application. Resentment added 
also a sting to my censure ; and I reprobated 
Raymond's conduct in severe terms. Adrian 
was more benign, more considerate. He ad- 
mitted that the principles that I laid down were 
the best ; but he denied that they were the only 
ones. Quoting the text, there are many man- 
sions in my father s house, he insisted that the 
modes of becoming good or great, varied as 



THE LAST MAN. 323 

much as the dispositions of men, of whom it 
might be said, as of the leaves of the forest, 
there were no two aUke. 

We arrived in London at about eleven at 
night. We conjectured, notwithstanding what 
we had heard, that we should find Raymond in 
St. Stephen's: thither we sped. The chamber 
was full — but there was no Protector ; and there 
was an austere discontent manifest on the coun- 
tenances of the leadeis, and a whispering and 
busy tattle among the underlings, not less omi- 
nous. We hastened to the palace of the Pro- 
tectorate. We found Raymond in his dining 
room with six others: the bottle was being 
pushed about merrily, and had made consider- 
able inroads on the understanding of one or two. 
He who sat near Raymond was telling a story, 
which convulsed the rest with laughter. 

Raymond sat among them, though while he 
entered into the spirit of the hour, his natural 
dignity never forsook him. He was gay, play- 
ful, fascinating — but never did he overstep the 



524 THE LAST MA]!^. 

modesty of nature, or the respect due to himself^ 
in his wildest salhes. Yet I own, that consi- 
dering the task which Raymond had taken on 
himself as Protector of England, and the cares 
to which it became him to attend, I w as ex- 
ceedingly provoked to observe the worthless 
fellows on whom his time was v/asted, and the 
jovial if not drunken spirit which seemed on the 
point of robbing him of his better self I stood 
watching the scene, while Adrian flitted like a 
shadow in among them, and, by a word and look 
of sobriety, endeavoured to restore order in the 
assembly. Raymond expressed himself de- 
lighted to see him, declaring that he should 
make one in the festivity of the night. 

This action of Adrian provoked me. I was 
indignant that he should sit at the same table 
with the companions of Raymond-^men of 
abandoned characters, or rather without any, 
the refuse of high-bred luxury, the disgrace of 
their country. *' Let me entreat Adrian,'' I 
cried, " not to comply : rather join with me 



THE LAST MAN. 525 

in endeavouring to withdraw Lord Raymond 
from this scene, and restore him to other so- 
ciety." 

" My good fellow," said Raymond, " this is 
neither the time nor place for the delivery of a 
moral lecture : take my word for it that my 
amusements and society are not so bad as you 
imagine. We are neither hypocrites or fools — 
for the rest, ' Dost thou think because thou art 
virtuous, there shall be no more cakes and ale ?' " 

I turned angrily away : '' Verney," said 
Adrian, " you are very cynical : sit down ; or if 
you w\\l not, perhaps, as you are not a frequent 
visitor. Lord Raymond will humour you, and 
accompany us, as we had previously agreed upon, 
to parliament." 

Raymond looked keenly at him ; he could 
read benignity only in his gentle lineaments ; he 
turned to me, observing with scorn my moody 
and stern demeanour. " Come,'" said Adrian, 
" I have promised for you, enable me to keep 



326 THE LAST MAN. 

my engagement. Come with us."" Ray- 
mond made an uneasy movement, and laconi- 
cally replied — " T won!tJ''* 

The party in the mean time had broken up. 
They looked at the pictures, strolled into the 
other apartments, talked of billiards, and one 
by one vanished. Raymond strode angrily up 
and down the room. I stood ready to receive 
and reply to his reproaches. Adrian leaned 
against the wall. " This is infinitely ridicu- 
lous," he cried. " if you were school-boys, you 
could not conduct yourselves more unreasonably.*" 

" You do not understand,'"' said Raymond. 
" This is only part of a system : — a scheme of 
tyranny to which I will never submit. Because 
I am Protector of England, am I to be the 
only slave in its empire ? My privacy invaded, 
my actions censured, my friends insulted ? But 
I will get rid of the whole together. — Be you 
witnesses,"" and he took the star, insignia of 
office, from his breast, and threw it on the table. 



THE LAST MAN. 2^7 

" I renounce my office, I abdicate my power — 

assume it who will !" 

" Let him assume it,'^ exclaimed Adrian, 
" who can pronounce himself, or whom the world 
will pronounce to be your superior. There does 
not exist the man in England with adequate 
presumption. Know yourself, Raymond, and 
your indignation will cease ; your complacency 
return. A few months ago, whenever we prayed 
for the prosperity of our country, or our own, 
we at the same time prayed for the life and wel- 
fare of the Protector, as indissolubly linked to 
it. Your hours were devoted to our benefit, 
your ambition was to obtain our commendation. 
You decorated our towns with edifices, you 
bestowed on us useful establishments, j^ou 
gifted the soil with abundant fertility. The 
powerful and unjust cowered at the steps of 
your judgment-seat, and the poor and oppressed 
arose like mom-awakened flowers under the 
sunshine of your protection. 



SS8 . YHK LAST MaK, 

*' Can you wonder that we are all aghast 
and mourn, when this appears changed ? But, 
come, this splenetic fit is already passed ; re- 
sume your functions ; your partizans will hail 
you ; your enemies be silenced ; our love, 
honour, and duty will again be manifested to- 
wards you. Master yourself, Raymond, and 
the world is subject to you/' 

" All this would be very good sense, if ad- 
dressed to another,"*' replied Raymond, moodily, 
" con the lesson yourself, and you, the first 
peer of the land, may become its sovereign. 
You the good, the wise, the just, may rule all 
hearts. But I perceive, too soon for my own 
happiness, too late for England's good, that I un- 
dertook a task to which I am unequal. I can- 
not rule myself. My passions are my masters ; 
my smallest impulse my tyrant. Do you think 
that I renounced the Protectorate (and I have 
renounced it) in a fit of spleen ? By the God 
that lives, I swear never to take up that baubje 



THE LAST MAX. S29 

again ; never again to burthen myself with the' 
weight of care and misery, of which that is the 
visible sign. 

" Once I desired to be a king. It was in the 
hey-day of youth, in the pride of boyish folly. 
I knew myself when I renounced it. I re- 
nounced it to gain — no matter what — for that 
also I have lost. For many months I have sub- 
mitted to this mock majesty — this solemn jest. 
I am its dupe no longer. I will be free. 

" I have lost that which adorned and digni- 
fied my life ; that which linked me to other 
men. Again I am a solitary man ; and I will 
become again, as in my early years, a wanderer, 
a soldier of fortune. My friends, for Verney, I 
feel that you are my friend, do not endeavour 
to shake my resolve. Perdita, wedded to an 
imagination, careless of what is behind the veil, 
whose charactery is in truth faulty and vile, 
Perdita has renounced me. With her it was 
pretty enough to play a sovereign's part ; and, 
as in the recesses of your beloved forest we 



3S0 THE LAST MAK. 

acted masques, and imagined ourselves Arca- 
dian shepherds, to please the fancy of the mo- 
meait — so was I content, more for Perdita's 
sake than my own, to take on me the character 
of one of the great ones of the earth ; to lead 
her behind the scenes of grandeur, to vary her 
life with a short act of magnificence and power. 
This was to be the colour ; love and confidence 
the substance of our existence. But Ave must 
live, and not act our lives ; pursuing the shadow, 
I lost the reality — now I renounce both. 

*"* Adrian, I am about to return to Greece, 
to become again a soldier, perhaps a conqueror. 
Will you accompany me ? You will behold new 
scenes ; see a new people ; witness the mighty 
struggle there going forward between civiliza- 
tion and barbarism ^ behold, and perhaps direct 
the efforts of a young and vigorous population, 
for liberty and order. Come with me. I have 
expected you. I waited for this moment ; all 
is prepared; — will you accompany me ?^'' 

" I will,'" replied Adrian. 



THE LAST MAN. 3S1 

" Immediately ?"" 

*' To-morrow if you will.'*' 

'^ Reflect r I cried. 

" Wherefore?" asked Raymond — " ^ly dear 
fellow, I have done nothing else than reflect on 
this step the live-long summer ; and be assured 
that Adrian has condensed an age of reflection 
into this little moment. Do not talk of reflection ; 
from this moment I abjure it ; this is my only 
happy moment during a long inter^^al of time. 
I must go, Lionel— the Gods will it; and I 
must. Do not endeavour to deprive me of my 
companion, the out-cast's friend. 

" One word more concerning unkind, unjust 
Perdita. For a time, I thought that, by watch- 
ing a complying moment, fostering the still 
warm ashes, I might relume in her the flame of 
love. It is more cold w^ithin her, than a fire left 
by gypsies in winter-timie, the spent embers 
crowned by a pyramid of snow. Then, in en- 
deavouring to do violence to my own disposition, 
I made all worse than before. Still I think, 



dS2 THE LAST MAN. 

that time, and even absence, may restore her to 
me. Remember, that I love her still, that my 
dearest hope is that she will again be mine. I 
know, though she does not, how false the veil is 
which she has spread over the reality — do not 
endeavour to rend this deceptive covering, but 
by degrees withdraw it. Present her with a 
mirror, in which she may know herself; and, 
when she is an adept in that necessary but diffi- 
cult science, she will wonder at her present mis- 
take, and hasten to restore to me, what is by 
right mine, her forgiveness, her kind thoughts, 
her love." 



THE LAST MAN. 



CHAPTER X. 



Aftee these events, it v/as long before we 
were able to attain any degree of composure. 
A moral tempest had wrecked our richly 
freighted vessel, and we, remnants of the dimi- 
nished crew, were aghast at the losses and 
changes which we had undergone. Idris 
passionately loved her brother, and could ill 
brook an absence whose duration was uncer- 
tain ; his society was dear and necessary 
to me— I had followed up my chosen Ute- 
rary occupations witli dehght under his tu- 
torship and assistance; his mild philosophy, 
unerring reason, and enthusiastic friendship 



334 THE LAST MAN. 

were the best ingredient, the exalted spirit of 
our circle ; even the children bitterly regretted 
the loss of their kind playfellow. Deeper grief 
oppressed Perdita. In spite of resentment, by 
day and night she figured to herself the toils 
and dangers of the wanderers. Raymond ab- 
sent, struggling with difficulties, lost to the 
power and rank of the Protectorate, exposed to 
the perils of war, became an object of anxious 
interest ; not that she felt any inclination to 
recall him, if recall must imply a return to their 
former union. Such return she felt to be im- 
possible ; and while she believed it to be thus, 
and with anguish regretted that so it should be, 
she continued angry and impatient with him, 
who occasioned her misery. These perplexities 
and regrets caused her to bathe her pillow with 
nightly tears, and to reduce her in person and 
in mind to the shadow of what slie had been. 
She sought solitude, and avoided us when in 
gaiety and unrestrained affection we met in a 
family circle. Lonely musings, interminable 



THE LAST MAN. 335 

wanderings, and solemn music were her only 
pastimes. She neglected even her child ; shut- 
ting her heart against all tendernes?, she grew 
reserved towards me, her first and fast friend, 

I could not see her thus lost, without exert- 
ing myself to remedy the evil — remediless I 
knew, if I could not in the end bring her to re- 
concile herself to Raymond. Before he went I 
used every argument, every persuasion to induce 
her to stop his journey. She answered the one 
with a gush of tears — telling me that to be per- 
suaded — life and the goods of life were a cheap 
exchange. It was not will that she wanted, but 
the capacity ; again and again she declared, it 
were as easy to enchain the sea, to put reins on 
the wind's viewless courses, as for her to take 
truth for falsehood, deceit for honesty, heartless 
communion for sincere, confiding love. She 
answered my reasonings more briefly, declaring 
with disdain, that the reason was hers ; and, un- 
til I could persuade her that the past could be 
unacted, that maturity could go back to the 



336 THE LAST MAN. 

cradle, and that all that was could become as 
though it had never been, it was useless to as- 
sure her that no real change had taken place in 
her fate. And thus with stern pride she suffered 
him to go, though her very heart-strings cracked 
at the fulfilling of the act, which rent from her 
all that made life valuable. 

To change the scene for her, and even for 
ourselves, all unhinged by the cloud that had 
come over us, I persuaded my two remaining com- 
panions that it were better that we should absent 
ourselves for a time from Windsor, We visited 
the north of England, my native Ulsv\ ater, and 
lingered in scenes dear from a thousand associa- 
tions. We lengthened our tour into Scotland, 
that we might see Loch Katrine and Loch Lo- 
mond ; thence we crossed to Ireland, and passed 
several weeks in the neighbourhood of Killarney. 
The change of scene operated to a great degree 
as I expected ; after a year's absence, Per- 
dita returned in gentler and more docile mood 
to Windsor. The first sight of this place for a 



THE LAST xMAN. 337 

time unhinged her. Here every spot was dis- 
tinct with associations now fjrown bitter. The 
forest glades, the ferny dells, and lawny up- 
lands, the cultivated and cheerful country spread 
around the silver pathway of ancient Thames, 
all earth, air, and wave, took up one choral 
voice, inspired by memory, instinct with plain- 
tive regret. 

But my essay towards bringing her to a saner 
view of her own situation, did not end here. 
Perdita was still to a great degree uneducated. 
When first she left her peasant life, and resided 
with the elegant and cultivated Evadne, the 
only accomplishment she brought to any perfec- 
tion was that of painting, for which she had a 
taste almost amounting to genius. This had 
occupied her in her lonely cottage, when she 
quitted her Greek friend's protection. Her 
pallet and easel were now thrown aside; did 
she try to paint, thronging recollections made 
her hand tremble, her eyes fill with tears. With 

VOL. I. ft 



338 THE LAST MAN. 

this occupation she gave up ahnost every other ; 
and her mind preyed upon itself almost to 
madness. 

For my own part, since Adrian had first 
withdrawn me from my selvatic wilderness to 
his own paradise of order and beauty, I had 
been wedded to literature. I felt convinced 
that however it might have been in former 
times, in the present stage of the world, no 
man's faculties could be developed, no man's 
moral principle be enlarged and liberal, without 
an extensive acquaintance with books. To me 
they stood in the place of an active career, of 
ambition, and those palpable excitements neces- 
sary to the multitude. The collation of philo- 
sophical opinions, the study of historical facts, 
the acquirement of languages, w^re at once my 
recreation, and the serious aim of my life. I 
turned author myself. My productions how- 
ever were sufficiently unpretending ; they were 
confined to the biography of favourite historical 



THE LAST MAN. 339 

characters, especially those whom I believed to 
have been traduced, or about whom clung ob- 
scurity and doubt. 

As my authorship increased, I acquired new 
sympathies and pleasures. I found another and 
a valuable link to enchain me to my fellow-crea- 
tures ; my point of sight was extended, and tlie 
inclinations and capacities of all human beings 
became deeply interesting to me. Kings have 
been called the fathers of their people. Sud- 
denly I became as it were the father of all 
mankind. Posterity became my heirs. My 
thoughts were gems to enrich the treasure house 
of man's intellectual possessions ; each sentiment 
was a precious gift I bestowed on them. Let 
not these aspirations be attributed to vanity. 
They were not expressed in words, nor even 
reduced to form in my own mind; but they 
filled my soul, exalting my thoughts, raising a 
glow of enthusiasm, and led me out of the 
obscure path in which I before walked, into the 
bright noon-enlightened highway of mankind, 



340 THE LAST MAN. 

making me, citizen of the world, a candidate for 
immortal nonors, an eager aspirant to the praise 
and sympathy of my fellow men. 

No one certainly ever enjoyed the pleasures 
of composition more intensely than I. If I left 
the woods, the solemn music of the waving 
branches, and the majestic temple of nature, 
I sought the vast halls of th? Castle, and looked 
over wide, fertile England, spread beneath our 
regal mount, and listened the while to inspiring 
strains of music. At such times solemn har- 
monies or spirit-stirring airs gave wings to my 
lagging thoughts, permitting them, methought, 
to penetrate the last veil of nature and her 
God, and to display the highest beauty in visible 
expression to the understandings of men. As 
the music went on, my ideas seemed to quit 
their mortal dwelling house ; they shook their 
pinions and began a flight, sailing on the placid 
current of thought, filling the creation with ne^^ 
glory, and rousing sublime imagery that else 
had slept voiceless. Then I would hasten to 



THE LAST MAN. 341 

my desk, weave the new-found web of mind in 
firm texture and brilliant colours, leaving the 
fashioning of the material to a calmer moment. 

But this account, which might as properly 
belong to a former period of my life as to the 
present moment, leads me far afield. It was the 
pleasure I took in literature, the discipline of 
mind I found arise from it, that made me eager 
to lead Perdita to the same pursuits, I began 
with light hand and gentle allurement ; first 
exciting her curiosity, and then satisfying it in 
such a way as might occasion her, at the same 
time that she half forgot her sorrows in occupa- 
tion, to find in the hours that succeeded a re- 
action of benevolence and toleration. 

Intellectual activity, though not directed to- 
wards books, had always been my sister's cha- 
racteristic. It had been displayed earl}' in life, 
leading her out to solitary musing among her 
native mountains, causing her to form innumer- 
ous combinations from common objects, giving 
strength to her perceptions, and swiftness to 



S42 THE LAST MAN. 

their arrangement. Love had come, as the rod 
of the master-prophet, to swallow up every 
minor propensity. Love had doubled all her 
excellencies, and placed a diadem on her genius. 
Was she to cease to love ? Take the colours 
and odour from the rose, change the sweet 
nutriment of mother's milk to gall and poison ; 
as easily might you wean Perdita from love. 
She grieved for the loss of Raymond with an 
anguish, that exiled all smile from her lips, and 
trenched sad lines on her brow of beauty. But 
each day seemed to change the nature of her 
suffering, and every succeeding hour forced her 
to alter (if so I may style it) the fashion of her 
soul's mourning garb. For a time music was 
able to satisfy the cravings of her mental 
hunger, and her melancholy thoughts renewed 
themselves in each change of key, and varied 
with every alteration in the strain. My school- 
ing first impelled her towards books ; and, if 
music had been the food of sorrow, the produc- 
tions of the wise became its medicine. 



THE LAST MAN. 34S 

The acquisition of unknown languages was 
too tedious an occupation, for one who referred 
every expression to the universe within, and 
read not, as many do, for the mere sake of filling 
up time ; but who was still questioning herself 
and her author, moulding every idea in a 
thousand ways, ardently desirous for the dis- 
covery of truth in every sentence. She sought 
to improve her understanding ; mechanically her 
heart and dispositions became soft and gentle 
under this benign discipline. After awhile she 
discovered, that amidst all her newly acquired 
knowledge, her own character, which formerly 
she fancied that she thoroughly understood, be- 
came the first in rank among the terrae incog- 
nitae, the pathless wilds of a country that had 
no chart. Erringly and strangely she began the 
task of self-examination with self-condemnation. 
And then again she became aware of her own ex- 
cellencies, and began to balance with juster scales 
the shades of good and evil. I, who longed 
beyond words, to restore her to the happiness 



34)4 , THE LAST MAN. 

it was still in her power to enjoy, watched with 
anxiety the result of these internal proceedings. 

But man is a strange animal. We cannot 
calculate on his forces like that of an engine ; 
and, though an impulse draw with a forty-horse 
power at what appears willing to yield to one, 
yet in contempt of calculation the movement is 
not effected. Neither gi'ief, philosophy, nor love 
could make Perdita think with mildness of the 
dereliction of Raymond. She now took plea- 
sure in my society ; towards Idris she felt and 
displayed a full and affectionate sense of her 
worth — she restored to her child in abundant 
measure her tenderness and care. But I could 
discover, amidst all her repinings, deep resent- 
ment towards Raymond, and an unfading sense 
of injury, that plucked from me my hope, when 
I appeared nearest to its fulfilment. Among 
other painful restrictions, she has occasioned it 
to become a law among us, never to mention 
Raymond's name before her. She refused to 
read any communications from Greece, desiring 



THE LAST MAN, 345 

YYie only to mention wlien any arrived, and 
whether the wanderers were well. It was cu- 
rious that even little Clara observed this law 
towards her mother. This lovely child was 
nearly eight years of age. Fc«-merly she had 
been a light-hearted infant, fanciful^ but gay and 
childish. After the departure of her father, 
thought became imprcssed on her young brow. 
Children, unadepts in langua^e^ seldom find 
words to express their thoughts, nor could we 
tell in what manner the late events had impressed- 
themselves on her mind. But certainly she had 
made deep observations while she noted in si- 
lence the changes that passed around her. She 
never mentioned her father to Perdita, she ap- 
peared half afraid when she spoke of him to 
me, and though I tried to draw her out on the 
subject, and to dispel the gloom that hung 
about her ideas concerning him, I could not 
succeed. Yet each foreign post-day she watched 
for the arrival of letters — knew the post mar*<\ 
and watched me as I read. I found her often 
Q ^ 



S46 THE LAST MAN. 

porinoj over the article of Greek intelligence m 
the newspaper. 

There is no more painful sight than that of 
untimely care in children, and it was particu- 
larly observable in one whose disposition had 
heretofore been mirthful. Yet there was so 
much sweetness and docility about Clara, that 
your admiration was excited ; and if the moods 
of mind are calculated to paint the cheek with 
beauty, and endow motions with grace, surely her 
contemplations must have been celestial ; since 
every lineament was moulded into loveliness, 
and her motions were more harmonious than the 
elegant boundings of the fawns of her native 
forest. I sometimes expostulated with Perdita 
on the subject of her reserve ; but she rejected 
my counsels, while her daughter's sensibility 
excited 'in her a tenderness still more passionate. 

After the lapse of more than a year, Adrian 
returned from Greece. 

When our exiles had first arrived, a truce 
was in existence between the Turks and Greeks ; 



THE LAST MAN. 347 

a truce that was as sleep to the mortal frame, 
signal of renewed activity on waking. With 
the numerous soldiers of Asia, with all of 
warhke stores, ships, and military engines, that 
wealth and power could command, the Turks 
at once resolved to crush an enemy, which 
<a*eeping on by degrees, had from their strong- 
hold in the Morea, acquired Thrace and Mace- 
donia, and had led their armies even to the 
gates of Constantinople, while their extensive 
commercial relations gave every European na- 
tion an interest in their success. Greece pre- 
pared for a vigorous resistance ; it rose to a 
man ; and the women, sacrificing their costly 
ornaments, accoutred their sons for the war, and 
bade them conquer or die with the spirit 
of the Spartan mother. The talents and courage 
of Raymond were highly esteemed among the 
Greeks. Born at Athens, that city claimed 
him for her own, and by giving him the com- 
mand of her peculiar division in the army, the 
commander-in-chief only possessed superior 



348 THE LAST MAN. 

power. He was numbered amoDg her citizens, 
his name was added to the list of Grecian heroes. 
His judgment, activity, and consummate bra- 
very, justified their choice. The Earl of Wind- 
sor became a volunteer under his friend. 

'" It is well," said Adrian, " to prate of war 
in these pleasant shades, and with much ill-spent 
oil make a show of joy, because many thousand 
of our fellow- creatures leave with pain this 
sweet air and natal earth. I shall not be sus- 
pected of being averse to the Greek cause ; I 
know and feel its necessity ; it is beyond every 
other a good cause. I have defended it with 
my sword, and was willing that my spirit 
should be breathed out in its defence ; freedom 
is of more worth than life, and the Greeks do 
well to defend their privilege unto death. 
But let us not deceive ourselves. The Turks 
are men ; each fibre, each limb is as feeling as 
our own, and every spasm, be it mental or 

dily, is as truly felt in a Turk's heart or 
and brain, as in a Greek's. The last action at 



THK LAST MAX, 849 



>vhich I was present was the taking of . 

The Turks resisted to the last, the garrison 
perished on the ramparts, and we entered by 
assault. Every breathing creature within the 
walls was massacred. Think you, amidst the 
shrieks of violated innocence and helpless infancy, 
I did not feel in eyery nerve the cry of a feUow 
being ? They were men and women, the suf- 
ferers, before they were Mahometans, and when 
they rise turbanless from the grave, in what 
except their good or evil actions will they be the 
better or worse than we ? Two soldiers con- 
tended for a girl, whose rich dress and extreme 
beauty excited the brutal appetites of these 
wretches, who, perhaps good men among their 
families, were changed by the fury of the mo- 
ment into incarnated evils. An old man, with 
a silver beard, decrepid and bald, he might be 
her grandfather, interposed to save her; the 
battle axe of one of them clove his skull. I 
rushed to her defence, but rage made them bhnd 
and deaf; they did not distinguish my Christian 



350 THE LAST MAN. 

garb or heed my words — words were blunt 
weapons then, for while war cried " havoc,'' 
and murder gave fit echo, how could I — 

Turn back the tide of ills, relieving wrong 
With mild accost of soothing eloquence ? 

One of the fellows, enraged at my interference, 
struck me with his bayonet in the side, and I 
fell senseless. 

" This wound will probably shorten my life, 
having shattered a frame, weak of itself. But I 
am content to die. I have learnt in Greece 
that one man, more or less, is of small import, 
while human bodies remain to fill up the 
thinned ranks of the soldiery ; and that th« 
identity of an individual may be overlooked, so 
that the muster roll contain its full numbers. 
All this has a difierent effect upon Raymond. 
He is able to contem.plate the ideal of war, 
while I am sensible only to its realities. He is 
a soldier, a general. He can influence the blood- 
thirsty war-dogs, while I resist their propensi- 
ties vainly. The cause is simple. Burke has 



THE LAST MAN. 351 

said that, ' in all bodies those who would lead, 
must also, in a considerable degree, follow.' — I 
cannot follow ; for I do not sympathize in their 
dreams of massacre and glory — to follow and to 
lead in such a career, is the natural bent of 
Raymond's mind. He is always successful, 
and bids fair, at the same time that he acquires 
high name and station for himself, to secure 
liberty, probably extended empire, to the 
Greeks."" 

Perdita's mind w as not softened by this ac- 
count. He, she thought, can be great and 
happy without me. Would that I also had a 
career ! Would that I could freight some un- 
tried bark with all my hopes, energies, and de- 
sires, and launch it forth into the ocean of life 
— bound for some attainable point, with ambi- 
tion or pleasure at the helm ! Eut adverse 
winds detain me on shore ; Hke Ulysses, I sit at 
the water's edge and w^eep. But my nerveless 
hands can neither fell the trees, nor smooth the 
planks. Under the influence of these melan- 



352 THE LAST MAX. 

choly thoughts, she became more than ever m 
love with sorrow. Yet Adrian's presence did 
some good ; he at once broke through the law of 
alence observed concerning Raymond. At first 
she started from the unaccustomed sound ; soon 
slie got used to it and to love it, and she listened 
with avidity to die account of his achievements. 
Clara got rid also of her restraint ; Adrian and 
she had been old playfellows ; and now, as they 
walked or rode together, he yielded to her earnest 
entreaty, and repeated, for the hundredth time, 
some tale of her father's bravery, munificence, 
or justice. 

Each vessel in the mean time brouorht exhi- 

o 

larating tidings from Greece. The presence 
of a friend in its armies and councils made us 
enter into the details with enthusiasm ; and a 
short letter now and then from Raymond 'told 
us how he was engrossed by the interests of his 
adopted country. The Greeks were strongly 
attached to their commercial pursuits, and 
would have, been satisfied with their present ac- 



THE LAST MAN. S53 

quisitions, had not the Turks roused them by 
invasion. The patriots were victorious; a 
spirit of conquest was instilled; and already 
they looked on Constantinople as their own. 
Raymond rose perpetually in their estimation ; 
but one man held a superior command to him 
in their armies. He was conspicuous for his 
conduct and choice of position in a battle fought 
in the plains of Thrace, on the banks of the 
Hebrus, which was to decide the fate of Islam. 
The Mahometans were defeated, and driven 
entirely from the country west of this river. 
The battle was sanguinary, the loss of the 
Turks apparently irreparable; the Greeks, in 
losing one man, forgot the nameless crowd 
strewed upon the bloody field, and they ceased 
to value themselves on a victory, which cost 
them — Raymond. 

At the battle of Makri he had led the charge 
of cavalry, and pursued the fugitives even to 
the banks of the Hebrus. His favourite horse 
was found grazing by the margin of the tranquil 



854 THE LAST MAN. 

river. It became a question whether he had 
fallen among the unrecognized ; but no broken 
ornament or stained trapping betrayed his fate. 
It was suspected that the Turks, finding them- 
selves possessed of so ilhistrious a captive, re- 
solved to satisfy their cruelty rather than their 
avarice, and fearful of the interference of Eng- 
land, had come to the determination of concealing 
for ever the cold-blooded murder of the soldier 
they most hated and feared in the squadrons of 
their enemy. 

Raymond was not forgotten in England. 
His abdication of the Protectorate had caused 
an unexampled sensation ; and, when his mag- 
nificent and manly system was contrasted with 
the narrow views of succeeding poHticians, the 
period of his elevation was referred to with 
sorrow. The perpetual recurrence of his 
name, joined to most honourable testimonials, in 
the Greek gazettes, kept up the interest he had 
excited. He seemed the favourite child of for- 
tune, and his untimely loss eclipsed the world, 



THE l.AST MAN. 355 

and shewed forth the remnant of mankind with 
diminished lustre. They clung with eagerness 
to the hope held out that he might yet be alive. 
Their minister at Constantinople was urged to 
make the necessary perquisitions, and should his 
existence be ascertained, to demand his release. 
It was to be hoped that their efforts would suc- 
ceed, and that though now a prisoner, the sport 
of cruelty and the mark of hate, he would be 
rescued from danger and restored to the hap- 
piness, power, and honour which he deserved. 

The effect of this intelligence upon my sister 
was striking. She never for a moment credited 
the story of his death; she resolved instantly 
to go to Greece. Reasoning and persuasion 
were thrown away upon her ; she would endure 
no hindrance, no delay. It may be advanced 
for a truth, that, if argument or entreaty can 
turn any one from a desperate purpose, whose 
motive and end depends on the strength of the 
affections only, then it is right so to turn them^ 



^56 



THE LAST MAN. 



since their docility shews, that neither the mo- 
tive nor the end were of sufficient force to bear 
them through the obstacles attendant on their 
undertaking. If, on the contrary, they are proof 
against expostulation, this very steadiness is 
an omen of success ; and it becomes the duty of 
those who love them, to assist in smoothing the 
obstructions in their path. Such sentiments ac- 
tuated our little circle. Finding Perdita im- 
moveable, we consulted as to the best means of 
furthering her purpose. She could not go alone 
to a country where she had no friends, where she 
might arrive only to hear the dreadful news, 
which must overwhelm her with grief and re- 
morse. Adrian, whose health had always been 
weak, now suffered considerable aggravation of 
suffering from the effects of his wound. Idris 
could not endure to leave him in this state ; nor 
was it right either to quit or take with us a 
young family for a journey of this description. 
I resolved at length to accompany Perdita. 



THE LAST MAN. 357 

The separation from my Idris was painful — but 
necessity reconciled us to it in some degree: 
necessity and the hope of saving Raymond, and 
restoring him again to happiness and Perdita. 
No delay was to ensue. Two days after we 
came to our determination, we set out for Ports- 
mouth, and embarked. The season was May, 
the weather stormless; we were promised a 
prosperous voyage. Cherishing the most fer- 
vent hopes, embarked on the waste ocean, we 
saw with dehght the receding shore of Britain, 
and on the wings of desire outspeeded our well 
filled sails towards the South. The light curl- 
ing waves bore us onward, and old ocean smiled 
at the freight of love and hope committed to 
his charge ; it stroked gently its tempestuous 
plains, and the path was smoothed for us. Day 
and night the wind right aft, gave steady im- 
pulse to our keel — nor did rough gale, or 
treacherous sand, or destructive rock interpose 
an obstacle between my sister and the land 



358 THE LAST MAN. 

which was to restore her to her first be- 
loved, 

Her dear heart's confessor — a heart within that heart. 



END OF VOL. I. 



SIUCKEfcl, AREOWSMITH Ss HODGES, JOHNSON S-COURT, FiEET-STREET 



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